Understaffing of nursing homes results in medical errors, catastrophic falls, and other tragedies to elderly residents. In many cases, understaffing is a prime cause of nursing home abuse and neglect.
If your elderly loved one suffered from neglect or abuse as a result of understaffing in a nursing home, you might be entitled to pursue compensation. Contact Pintas & Mullins Law Firm to learn more about how a Forest Park understaffing lawyer can help protect your elderly loved one’s legal rights.
Resident to Nursing Home Staff Ratio
State laws have standards required for nursing homes regarding how many nurses and employees must be available at different times for elderly residents.
According to the Department of Justice, Illinois statutes require a director of nursing to work for a minimum of 36 hours per week between 7 a.m. and 7 p.m. in nursing homes with under 50 beds.
For nursing homes with 100 or more beds:
- An assistant director of nursing must be on staff full-time
- One licensed nurse must be there when the directors of nursing are not
- One registered nurse must work eight consecutive hours for seven days a week
- One registered nurse has to work 24 hours, seven days a week per floor.
Also, Illinois nursing homes must fill staff positions based on the time each resident needs, according to Administrative Code Section 300.1230 on direct care staffing:
- 3.8 hours of care for each resident needing skilled care
- 2.5 hours of care for each resident needing intermediate care
So, for example, if a nursing facility has 25 residents who need skilled care, they will need enough staff for 95 hours of personal care per day.
In many cases, nursing homes will only adhere to these minimum requirements, which many experts still consider far too low to provide quality care to elderly residents.
Responsibilities of Nursing Home Employees
In a typical shift, nurses and employees in Illinois nursing homes must perform the following functions timely and with complete accuracy, according to Administrative Code Section 300.1210:
- Prepare and distribute medications and treatments as ordered by a physician.
- Observe and record changes in the residents’ physical and mental conditions.
- Properly care for residents’ skin, nails, hair, oral, and overall hygiene.
- Give at least one bath and hair wash weekly, per resident, or as many as needed to satisfy the personal hygiene requirement.
- Provide residents with clean “street” clothing that looks “decent.”
- Clean residents’ bed linens at least once a week.
- Treat pressure sores, heat rashes, or skin breakdown.
- Keep residents’ environments safe from any hazards.
- Provide adequate supervision and assistance.
- Ensure a resident’s physical and mental state is maintained.
These are but a few of the requirements and functions that a nurse or employee of a nursing home must perform. Without proper staffing, nurses and employees can become easily overwhelmed, and mistakes might occur.
If a staff member at your loved one’s nursing home neglected their duties because of understaffing, contact Pintas & Mullins Law Firm for a free consultation.
For a free legal consultation with a Understaffing Lawyer serving Forest Park, call (800) 794-0444
Consequences of Understaffing
Understaffing can lead to nurses and employees feeling overwhelmed and exhausted. In some cases, understaffing or high turnover rates result in employees that are improperly training or lack the education necessary to ensure proper care of elderly residents. The most serious of all consequences of understaffing in nursing homes is elder neglect and abuse.
Some of the signs of neglect in a nursing home related to understaffing are:
- Malnutrition or dehydration.
- Incorrect preparation, distribution, or administration of medications.
- Failure to reposition bedridden or residents in wheelchairs, resulting in bedsores.
- Development of sepsis in residents who have serious infections.
- Failure to assist residents in going to the bathroom, resulting in either falls and injuries or soiled diapers or bedsheets.
- Failure to bathe or take care of the personal hygiene of residents.
- Failure to monitor patients’ blood sugar levels or vital signs leading to injuries or death.
- Failure to document any event or incident regarding the resident.
- Failure to contact a medical professional about an injury.
- Failure to document the patient’s health or any event that occurs.
Unfortunately, when nursing homes remain understaffed, the consequences can turn from neglect to abuse. When nursing home employees are overworked and exhausted, they may make choices under pressure that rise to the level of elder abuse, including the following:
- Intentionally overmedicating or under medicating a resident.
- Physically attacking, yelling, berating, demeaning, or humiliating a resident due to their noncompliance with a request out of frustration.
- Placing a resident in physical restraints to prevent them from getting up and hurting themselves.
- Depriving a resident of food or water based on their behavior.
- Threatening a resident with physical abuse.
- Threatening a resident with sexual abuse.
- Threatening a resident psychologically, such as telling them they will never see their family again if they do not comply with a request.
Forest Park Understaffing Lawyer Near Me (800) 794-0444
Hiring a Forest Park Understaffing Lawyer
Understaffing in a nursing home may severely impact a resident’s quality of care, and may lead to injuries or even death. Simple, basic tasks required for residents to live and be healthy may remain neglected due to understaffing.
Additionally, residents who are victims of understaffing in nursing homes often suffer from elder abuse. If your elderly loved one suffered injuries due to understaffing in a nursing home, contact Pintas & Mullins Law Firm and learn about how a Forest Park understaffing lawyer can help.