When a nursing home is understaffed, your loved one could be at risk of being neglected. Overworked staffers might not be able to extend the standard of care your loved one needs, causing potential health problems.
These problems could indicate more systemic issues in a nursing home. If you suspect that understaffing or any other potential negligence negatively affected your loved one, call our team at Pintas & Mullins Law Firm today for a free consultation with a Phoenix understaffing lawyer.
Understaffing May Compromise Your Loved One
Research on the need for higher minimum staffing standards in U.S. nursing homes, from the University of California San Francisco, Vanderbilt University, The Department of Veterans Affairs, and the University of British Colombia, indicates that:
- Nursing home minimum staffing standards are too low.
- Enforcement of current minimum staffing standards is “weak.”
- Costs of staffing are “a barrier to staffing reform.”
- Industry pushback against higher staffing standards is significant.
The presence of low minimum staffing standards is dangerous, and the idea that even those too-low standards are not being enforced is even more concerning.
Regardless of the reason for understaffing in your loved one’s nursing home, having a low staff-to-patient ratio puts residents at risk.
The Acute Dangers of Understaffing
According to Patient Safety and Quality: An Evidence-Based Handbook for Nurses, the level of staffing—and staffing nurses in particular—is a key determinant in the quality of patient care. Residents in nursing homes, because of their age, may require regular medical care, and nurses may be a central part of that.
When the ratio of nurses, doctors, and other care staff to patients falls below standards that make quality care possible, your loved one may be put in danger. Specific scenarios that may illustrate this danger include:
- Your loved one having less direct, hands-on time with doctors and nurses because those healthcare professionals have to tend to too many residents.
- Your loved one being at a higher risk of suffering a fatal health event because the staff is not caring for them as closely or consistently as they should be.
- Your loved one failing to have the interaction that is necessary to maintain strong mental health.
- Your loved one going without basic care, such as hygiene, because the staff is stretched too thin.
Understaffing is generally considered dangerous in and of itself, and to be a risk of low-quality care in a nursing home. If you suspect that your loved one resides in a nursing home with less staff than is necessary, then it may be an indicator that other problems persist in the home.
Other Possible Forms of Nursing Home Negligence
Understaffing could be just the tip of the iceberg when it comes to subpar treatment in the nursing home where your loved one lived or lives. Other possible forms of mistreatment in a nursing home include:
- Emotional or psychological abuse
- Physical abuse
- Sexual abuse
- Financial exploitation
If your loved one is being neglected, mistreated, or exploited, then they may exhibit various signs of declining mental and physical health. If you see any of these signs, you may want to take swift action to ensure that your loved one is not in harm’s way. You can call our team at Pintas & Mullins Law Firm today for a free consultation.
Signs of Mistreatment Could Be Cause for Legal Action
If you see changes in your loved one that you believe may be indications of understaffing or other forms of mistreatment, you may want to:
- Ask your loved one if they are being mistreated, or not given the care that they need.
- Alert proper authorities (nursing home regulatory boards, police) to report your concerns.
- Attempt to move your loved one to a safer location, if you are capable of doing so.
- Call a law firm to speak with their team about possible legal action.
Some possible signs of mistreatment in your loved one could include:
- Indications of physical trauma, such as bruises, burns, cuts, broken bones, and more serious injuries.
- An apparent onset of depression, which may be manifested by your loved one withdrawing from activities that they enjoy and showing an overall downturn in their demeanor.
- Signs of anxiety or fear.
- Indications that they are not being cared for, such as the presence of body odor, unchanged bedpans, unkempt hair, or an unshaven face.
You may sense other changes in your loved one that concern you. A Phoenix understaffing lawyer may be able to help in several ways should you ultimately decide to bring legal action against one or more defendants.
A Lawyer May Help You Seek Justice
When your loved one’s nursing home care is neglected, you may choose to seek justice through whichever means are available to you, civil courts included. Should you choose to accept their help, a Phoenix understaffing lawyer may:
- Help determine if negligence occurred.
- Handle the legal aspects of your loved one’s case from start to finish.
- Seek compensation from liable parties.
- Defend your loved one’s rights.
If your loved one’s case for awards proves successful, they may be compensated for various losses that arose from a nursing home’s shortcomings.
For a free legal consultation with an understaffing lawyer serving Phoenix, call (800) 794-0444
Call Our Team at Pintas & Mullins Law Firm Today
We do not shy away from tough cases and work on a contingency-fee-basis, which means that clients pay nothing upfront or out of pocket. We only get paid if we win your case. Call our team at Pintas & Mullins Law Firm today for a free consultation.