Most nursing homes are for-profit organizations. Like other businesses, the administration might cut costs at the expense of quality. However, understaffing in nursing homes can become detrimental to the health of residents.
The medical field, in general, faces workforce shortages, and long-term care workers face increasing workloads. Short staffing in nursing homes can lead to poor elderly care and health hazards. Stress from being overworked may also lead staff members to become impatient or abusive with your loved ones.
If understaffing at your loved one’s nursing home has put them in harm’s way, you could seek compensation with help from a Louisiana understaffing lawyer. Contact Pintas & Mullins Law Firm at (800) 842-6336 to speak with a team member about seeking financial awards for understaffing in a Louisiana nursing home.
Understaffing in Nursing Homes
In many professions, being short-staffed means missing deadlines and spending long hours in the office. In nursing homes, understaffing can mean missed medications, inadequate care, and a higher risk of death.
If your spouse or parent suffered mistreatment or died due to understaffing, you could seek reimbursement for expenses and suffering. Understaffing mistakes and negligence can cause:
- Injuries and the related costs for treatment and recovery
- Medication mistakes, such as over or under medicating
- Bedsores and infections from being left unattended
- Abuse from stressed staff members
- Malnutrition and dehydration
- Humiliation and loss of self-worth from poor living conditions
- Failure to meet residents’ basic needs, like using the bathroom
Poor quality of care is life-threatening for nursing home residents. If staff is slow to respond to calls, your loved one could experience harm or suffer while waiting. For instance, a fallen resident may not receive timely care if employees were too busy for frequent checks.
Understaffing Is Not Just About Lack of Numbers
A nursing home may have an adequate number of employees but not the right types of staff members. Proper elder care involves various kinds of medical professionals. Facilities may depend on under-trained personnel for most of the direct resident care.
For example, lower-paid nursing assistance workers handle basic needs, such as feeding, dressing, and bathing. This position may only require a high school education or completion of a certificate program. These staff members could miss signs of health distress resulting in your family member’s injury, illness, or death.
Likewise, the nursing home may only have one registered nurse with limited experience with residents for eight hours a day to hand out medications. Missed medication, medication errors, and being over or undermedicated is a type of medical malpractice and nursing home abuse.
Determining Responsibility in Nursing Home Understaffing Cases
A Louisiana understaffing lawyer will investigate cases to gather proof of injuries, neglect, and wrongful deaths in nursing homes. Parties responsible for issues involving understaffing can include:
- The nursing home staff: If your family member was the victim of abuse by one or more specific employees, each might have liability for damages. For example, a nurse may have liability for the consequences of prescription medication issues.
- The administration: Nursing home managers who intentionally under-staff for budgetary reasons may become responsible for the actions or inactions of staff members. Facilities are also responsible for screening applicants before hiring. Nursing homes must schedule shifts according to local and federal staffing laws.
According to Louisiana Revised Statutes (RS) §40:2010.8, nursing homes must maintain a certain level of care and provide “adequate and appropriate health care and protective and support services.” If facilities do not meet the basic needs of residents, families can hold them responsible for any consequences of poor care.
Dealing with Insurance Companies
Nursing homes often have insurance policies to handle costs relating to nursing home abuse lawsuits. If a court finds the nursing home legally liable for damages, its insurance policy likely will be responsible for payment.
Rather than dealing with the facility and its administration, their insurance company representatives might offer an amount to avoid court costs in settlement talks. A Louisiana understaffing lawyer can review any offers to determine whether they fairly compensate your loved one’s injuries and losses. Call Pintas & Mullins Law Firm today to learn more.
Compensation for Understaffing Cases
One of the biggest problems with understaffed nursing homes is the residents’ increased risk of injury. Residents who injure themselves due to neglect may require additional medical care. Treatment for injuries due to understaffing can cost family members thousands of dollars in additional costs for their loved ones.
For instance, a nursing home resident might fall when trying to use the restroom after an extended wait for staff assistance. They might have avoided the fall if they had received timely aid. The injury could have initial treatment costs and long-term management expenses.
Medical bills are a calculable amount in a lawsuit. Non-economic losses, such as pain and suffering, are not easily measurable. However, with sufficient evidence of physical or emotional anguish, the court might award your loved one additional compensation.
If understaffing in a nursing home leads to elder abuse by staff, you could seek economic and non-economic damages. Types of nursing home abuse that the National Center on Elder Abuse (NCEA) has identified include:
- Physical: Bodily harm, pain, or injury resulting from pinching, hitting, kicking, excessive restraint, or causing physical damage with medication, malnutrition, and dehydration.
- Sexual: Unwanted sexual contact or exposure, such as a staff member photographing a naked resident or forcing them to watch pornographic material.
- Emotional: Mental anguish, distress, anxiety, and fear through verbal and nonverbal acts.
- Financial: Exploitation of a resident’s money or property, such as stealing valuables or manipulating billing for additional funds.
- Neglect and abandonment: Failure to meet residents’ needs or complete duties through inattention or desertion.
You could seek a financial award if your family member died because of understaffing in a Louisiana nursing home. Wrongful death cases can include compensation for medical bills, funeral costs, and burial expenses.
Seeking Compensation for Understaffing
According to RS §9:5628, family members have a year to file lawsuits. The same one-year deadline applies to wrongful death claims per Louisiana Civil Code (CC) §2315.2. A Louisiana understaffing lawyer can help guide you through the process of seeking compensation in a timely fashion. Contact the team at Pintas & Mullins Law Firm about your loved one’s understaffed nursing home issues today by calling (800) 842-6336.