If your loved one suffered harm at an understaffed nursing home, the facility can be held responsible for not having the proper staffing required to provide patients with the right level of care.
In the United States, most nursing homes are not adequately staffed, federal data says.
This revelation is shocking considering that in 2017, $166.3 billion of dollars was spent on nursing home facilities, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).
Symptoms of sicknesses can be missed because there is no one closely monitoring a patient. In a worst-case scenario, understaffing can cause the death of a patient due to missed symptoms or from an injury sustained from an accident while staff were busy treating someone else.
It is all too easy to dismiss understaffing as a momentary problem at medical facilities. However, running a nursing home without adequate staffing levels is dangerous and puts patients at risk. Facility administrators are aware of these risks. If they choose to operate without enough staff members, they could be held responsible if an incident involving a patient occurs as a result of negligence.
Understaffing can create serious problems for patients that can be harmful to their health. A Stickney understaffing lawyer can help you. If a loved one suffered injuries as a result of understaffing, contact Pintas & Mullins Law Firm to discuss what happened with a member of our legal team. The fact is that when you put your trust into a medical facility, you should not have to wonder whether their current staffing levels are enough to provide the right level of care.
Signs of Understaffing
Understaffing may not be easily visible, but there are signs to look for. If you are worried about understaffing in a nursing home, keep an eye on your loved one to see if you notice these signs:
- Depression: Depression in residents is a sign that their emotional needs are not being met. It is also a sign that they may be spending long periods of time alone since caregivers are not available.
- Bad hygiene: Signs that residents’ hygiene needs are not being met may mean that staff members are not available to help with basic hygiene.
- Fear responses: Fear responses may be a sign that residents are being abused by stressed and overworked staff members.
- Bedsores: Bedsores are a sign that residents are being left alone for long periods of time without the attention of a staff member.
- Malnutrition: Malnutrition may be a sign of neglect, as seniors are not getting enough to eat or drink.
This list represents just some of the signs that understaffing is having an impact on the quality of nursing home care. There are many other ways that an understaffed facility puts your loved one in danger.
Understaffed Nursing Homes Are Not Uncommon
Many nursing homes are not adequately staffed. Understaffing in nursing homes can lead to neglect and abuse from overstressed workers. Understaffing also makes it easier for staff, who may be improperly trained, to overmedicate people suffering from dementia. In many cases, nursing homes are struggling to find qualified caregivers to hire since there are fewer caregivers available than are needed to fill the gaps in staffing.
For a free legal consultation with a Understaffing Lawyer serving Stickney, call (800) 794-0444
Ways Nursing Homes Cope With Understaffing
Because of the understaffing issue, many nursing home caregivers work overtime to ensure that patients have the support that they need. While admirable, working consistent overtime also leads to frustration, burnout, and possible abuse. Some states are trying to fix the problem through legislation. However, it is unclear if any solution other than making more caregivers available to nursing homes will work.
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Some nursing homes do not have the amount of staff that they need to meet the standard of care, which can lead to abuse, neglect, and other health risks. Some of the risks of understaffing in nursing homes include:
- Untrained staff: Staff members that are hired to fill gaps but do not have the training or skills to provide effective care can harm residents by not following the right procedures.
- Exhausted staff: Understaffing leaves staff members to try and cover the gaps in care, including working overtime every day. This quickly leads to exhaustion and frustration, which can lead to neglect and abuse.
- Staff that cannot manage aggressive resident behavior: Residents with aggressive behavior issues need specially trained staff members that can handle their behavior. Leaving staff members who are not trained properly to deal with aggressive behavior may hurt a resident or employee.
- Lack of flexibility: Understaffing limits nursing homes’ ability to adjust services as needed. A lack of flexibility may mean that residents won’t get the full amount of care that they need when their circumstances change.
- Periods without proper supervision: Not having enough staff members means that each staff member must provide care for more residents. This also means that they will have to switch between residents more often, leaving residents without a caregiver for longer stretches of time where problems can easily arise.
- Failing to meet basic needs: Having too few staff members means that they will spend less time with each resident. This could lead to residents’ basic needs not being met since staff members are trying to rush between residents.
These are just some of the risks that happen with understaffed nursing homes. If your loved one is at an understaffed nursing home or receiving care from a hospital that does not have adequate staffing, they could be at risk for serious adverse effects.
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Consult a Stickney Understaffing Lawyer
Understaffing can cause serious injuries. It is not something that should be taken lightly. If your loved one is injured due to understaffing or if you believe that a family member is not receiving adequate care from a nursing home, it might be time to discuss the possibility of a legal case with a Stickney understaffing lawyer as soon as possible. Call Pintas & Mullins Law Firm to schedule a free consultation to discuss your potential case with a member of our team.