The understaffing of nursing homes is the direct cause of many residential abuse and neglect cases. When the needs of patients do not correlate with the number of attendants on staff, everyone suffers. Residents do not get the proper care they need, and nursing home workers may be scrambling to perform their duties, sometimes resulting in instances of elder abuse or neglect. If you have recognized a sudden decline in your loved one’s health, the presence of physical injuries, or a sharp change in mood, they may be suffering from abuse or neglect.
You have the opportunity to fight for their protection under the law. If an elderly loved one suffered harm due to understaffing in a nursing home, contact a Riverside understaffing lawyer at Pintas & Mullins Law Firm. We offer a free initial case review and operate on a contingency basis.
Understaffing of Nursing Homes Is Widespread
Part of the Omnibus Reconciliation Act of 1987 House Bill 3545, the Nursing Home Reform Law of 1987 mandates that care facilities must have licensed professionals on staff equipped to handle specific health conditions. This law requires that all nursing home facilities have a licensed nurse available at the facility eight consecutive hours a day, every day of the week. Additionally, the law states that there must be at least one licensed caretaker on duty 24 hours a day and that nursing homes should have sufficient staffing to meet all residents’ physical and emotional needs; however, according to the U.S. Government Accountability Office, improved oversight is needed to better protect residents from abuse. In fact, many of these facilities do not meet certain criteria that promote the wellbeing of their residents. Research determined that despite certain government measures, abuse and neglect are still widespread in nursing homes throughout the nation.
There are many reasons why a nursing home may be understaffed. Some care facilities cannot afford the additional cost of labor required to ensure their facility has adequate staffing. Medical Care reports that the costs of turnover rates in nursing homes contribute to shortages in the nursing home workforce. Factors including high patient-to-caretaker ratio, overworking, long hours, and emotional toll all contribute to the continuing dilemma of nursing homes being unable to keep workers.
While this information points to greater problems in nursing home infrastructure, it is no excuse for the abuse and neglect of patients. Any nursing home that cannot maintain a safe and healthy environment for its patients should be held accountable for their quality of care.
Understaffing Leads to Elder Neglect
Inquiry reports that large for-profit nursing home chains are failing to meet nurse staffing standards and have long been unable to maintain consistent staffing.
The journal lists the following questions when determining whether a facility’s overall operations were the result of an inadequate workforce:
- How did residents’ needs compare with the actual nurse staffing levels?
- How did the staffing levels compare with federal and state nurse staffing requirements and professional staffing standards?
- Did the facilities comply with state and federal residents’ rights and quality of care requirements?
When moving forward with legal action against a nursing home, your lawyer will need to determine what factors led to the elder abuse and neglect of your loved one. If they are able to establish that understaffing in a nursing home caused harm to your loved one, then they can start building a case for negligence.
You and your family are not responsible for the internal operations of the liable nursing home. It is the duty of administrators to train their staff and maintain a work environment that promotes the wellbeing of residents. Failure to do so makes them financially responsible for your losses.
To learn more, call Pintas & Mullins Law Firm today.
Signs of Elder Neglect Resulting from Understaffing
When a facility is understaffed, caretakers may be physically unable to handle all the needs of the elderly residents in the nursing home. In many cases, negligence results in otherwise avoidable injuries and situations that impact a resident’s wellbeing.
These may include:
- Seniors soiling their clothes due to the inability to use the restroom independently.
- Dehydration or malnutrition when a resident is unable to obtain food or water on their own.
- Caretakers failing to respond to repeated requests for food, water, to go to the bathroom, or repositioning
- Caretakers failing to reposition bedridden or patients in a wheelchair that result in serious bedsores
- Medication errors related to the preparation or administration of medicines
- Development of preventable life-threatening medical conditions, such as bedsores, sepsis, and severe urinary tract infections
If your elderly loved one suffered severe injuries or passed away due to nursing home neglect, you have legal rights and can file a lawsuit on their behalf. Contact Pintas & Mullins Law Firm to learn more about your legal rights.
For a free legal consultation with a Understaffing Lawyer serving Riverside, call (800) 794-0444
What a Lawyer Can Do for You
After contracting a Riverside understaffing lawyer’s legal services, they will gather evidence related to your loved one’s present condition. One of their first goals will be to establish that your loved one did, in fact, suffer abuse or neglect and as a result, has seen a decline in their overall quality of life.
Such evidence may include:
- Photographs of any scratches, bruises, or other injuries your loved one may have
- Testimony from attending staff members regarding the resident’s injuries
- Camera footage of the facility (if available)
- Recorded statements from your loved one if they are cognitively able
- Medical expert findings upon examination of your loved one’s injuries and other health conditions
- Interviews with other patients in the facility for their perspective on understaffing and residential treatment
From there, your legal team will notify the nursing home of your intention to file a civil action unless they resolve your grievances. Under Illinois law, the nursing home has 60 days to address your concerns. Some nursing homes may offer you a financial settlement to prevent the case from going to court. Others may make accommodations to promote your loved one’s quality of care. If not, you have the right to move forward with legal proceedings. From there, the amount of compensation you may receive will be at the discretion of a judge’s verdict.
Riverside Understaffing Lawyer Near Me (800) 794-0444
Contact a Riverside Understaffing Lawyer
If an elderly loved one suffered abuse or neglect related to understaffing in a nursing home, you have the right to seek justice. Nursing homes have a responsibility and duty under the law to ensure that their residents receive appropriate care. If a nursing home employee neglected or abused your elderly loved one, they should face the consequences of their actions.
To begin advocating on your loved one’s behalf, call Pintas & Mullins Law Firm.