Understaffing in Nursing Homes
Lack of staff can cause abuse and neglect
Nursing homes have a variety of responsibilities for their residents’ health and safety, and providing that level of care is labor-intensive. When there is a lack of staff, the residents are the ones who have to deal with the consequences, often in the form of nursing home abuse and neglect.
Understaffing in nursing homes is a widespread issue that leads to nursing home abuse and neglect. At Hal Waldman & Associates, we are dedicated to holding nursing homes responsible because your loved one deserved the care and attention you entrusted the facility to provide. Contact us today to review your legal rights and options with an experienced Pittsburgh nursing home abuse lawyer.
Causes of understaffing in nursing homes
Understaffing has become one of the most common causes of nursing home neglect and, in some cases, abuse. While repercussions of understaffing burden nursing home staff members, it’s the residents that bear the brunt. Understaffing contributes to abuse and neglect in many ways, including:
Turnover rates indicate how often employees leave their jobs. When turnover rates are high, staff members are constantly leaving. This leads to a cycle of continuously hiring and training new staff. With high turnover rates, facilities are frequently understaffed, the existing staff becomes overworked, and the care and safe environments of nursing homes are disrupted.
Overtime and exhaustion
In an understaffed facility, the remaining staff often need to work additional hours to compensate. Excessive overtime leads to exhaustion and burnout, reducing the quality of care and increasing the likelihood of abuse.
Lack of trained and certified nurses
Trained and certified nurses have become scarce, contributing to the ongoing problem of understaffing in nursing homes. Many nursing homes do not offer good enough pay, hours, and working conditions to attract qualified nurses with other employment options. Without sufficient nurses, nursing homes cannot provide the level of care residents need.
Consequences of understaffing
Understaffing in nursing homes directly results in the neglect of residents’ needs, leading to many alarming consequences. With a staff shortage, the quality of care in facilities becomes less than the standard, posing safety and health risks to vulnerable residents. For example, preventing falls is more difficult in an understaffed facility because there aren’t enough staff to help residents in and out of bed or supervise them when they fall.
Understaffed nursing homes do not have enough caregivers to attend to all the residents during mealtimes, which is the biggest test of staffing. Without a proper diet, residents fall victim to malnutrition and dehydration.
Due to heavy workload, overwhelmed staff members can unintentionally overlook a resident’s basic care needs. Understaffed facilities may not regularly turn residents in bed, leading to bedsores. They may also neglect residents’ hygiene and other basic needs.
Finally, understaffing increases the risk of nursing home abuse. In part, this is because overworked and exhausted staff may be more likely to commit acts of abuse – this is not an excuse, of course, but it is a partial explanation. Moreover, understaffed facilities may be so desperate for workers that they skip background checks or negligently retain workers who have shown warning signs of abusive behavior.
We know how to hold negligent nursing facilities accountable
If your parent or loved one has been mistreated in a nursing home due to understaffing, you don’t have to face this alone. At Hal Waldman & Associates, we know that understaffing is a considerable issue affecting facilities across Pennsylvania. We work hard to hold them accountable and pursue fair compensation for your family.