The staff of a nursing home provides an integral role in the facility. Unfortunately, when nursing homes operate understaffed, the residents may suffer from their negligence, according to the National Institutes of Health (NIH). Understaffing routinely occurs due to an annual turnover rate of approximately 85% in nursing homes annually throughout the country.
Between regulating patient medications, helping with important social interactions, and otherwise keeping up with a patient’s ongoing care, caregivers can experience burnout and decide to leave suddenly. When caregivers and certified nursing assistants (CNA) leave gaps in the staff, the residents can suffer greatly. Several reasons may contribute to an understaffed nursing home, including monetary issues, a high turnover rate, and a lack of qualified candidates. There is no excuse for these types of indiscretions.
Regardless of these issues, the U.S. Department of Justice mandates nursing homes to provide a certain level of quality care according to nursing home staffing standards. When a nursing home employs proper practices to ensure a certain quality of care and staffing, the same issues and accidents prove avoidable.
Expenses Increase as Quality of Care Decreases Due to Understaffing
Understaffing does not only affect the resident of the nursing home but the nursing home itself as well. NIH studies showed that the average costs of turnover in nursing homes to be $167,063 for locations that experienced high turnover rates of their staff. When understaffing results in improper care, the consequences can prove deadly for nursing home residents. Further, the effects of understaffing can include, but are not limited to:
- A lack of worker-resident relationships that can have a negative mental effect on patients.
- Inadequate staff to deliver medications to patients exactly as they need them, which can include specific dosages, brands, and ingestion methods (for example, whether or not the medication needs to be ground up, injected, placed under the tongue, etc.).
- Staff may have to care for too many residents at once, resulting in a costly inattention to detail that can affect the safety of the patients.
- Residents may not receive proper medical care until it is too late, causing issues such as injuries, mental illness episodes, overall health issues, lack of personal needs, and more.
- Inexperienced staff members may have too much responsibility for their skillset.
- Staff members may have so many tasks that they forget to properly clean the facilities, which can facilitate the spread of dangerous diseases, viruses, and invasive species (such as mites and bed bugs).
- Ongoing stress of staff’s multi-faceted positions may lead to burnout, which subsequently affects their ability to properly perform their job duties.
- Workers may have to work long hours to make up for the lack of employees, which can lead to a higher likelihood of mistakes.
- An increased risk of workplace accidents, such as wet floors, improperly secured items, and other forms of negligence by staff may occur.
Sometimes the effects of understaffing may appear visibly, while other factors may have a more gradual decline. These issues prove especially hard to define if you have a loved one in a nursing home facility that has trouble communicating. By always looking out for tell-tale signs like unexplained bruises, malnutrition, deliriousness, changes in demeanor, and a lack of cleanliness, you can help prevent these issues from spreading any further. Nursing home abuse takes many forms, and understaffing classifies as a frequent contributor.
Nursing Home Lawyers in Your Corner
Nursing homes should go out of their way to make their patients as comfortable as possible. This includes making sure their residents always receive sufficient care for both their mental and physical health. The attorneys at Pintas & Mullins Law Firm believe every injustice imaginable in these types of facilities bears no excuse for harming your loved one. We believe these facilities need to take responsibility for their neglect or abuse stemming from understaffing.
When nursing homes allow themselves to become understaffed, it does not differ from other forms of negligence – even if issues arise unintentionally. The potential compensation awarded in your case can go toward ongoing care, hospital bills, mental suffering, and more. Together, we may let these nursing homes know that they can not put people in harm’s way without severe consequences.
To find out how our lawyers may help protect your right to compensation after your loved one has been injured or neglected at a nursing home due to the effects of understaffing, call us at (800) 842-6336 for your free consultation. Statutes of limitations may apply for personal injury lawsuits brought against a nursing home, so the sooner you call us, the sooner we may begin building a case for your loved one.