How Short-Staffed Nursing Homes Lead To Neglect

Law Blog

Some nursing homes, in an attempt to generate a profit and save money, fail to adequately staff their nursing homes. Unfortunately, this leads to over 90% of nursing homes being understaffed. This sometimes leads to the nursing home failing to meet its standards of care because the nursing home staff are often unable to properly care for residents and some staff members may even become violent. If you believe that your loved one is being neglected due to understaffing, there are fortunately options available to you.

Is Nursing Home Understaffing Illegal?

Understaffing at a nursing home is not necessarily illegal. In some states, there are no regulations governing the ratio of patients and staff members. Therefore, you will need to fight for your loved one on the grounds that the understaffing has led to abuse and neglect. Nursing home facilities also often exaggerate how many staff members they have. 

What Are the Consequences of Understaffing?

Nursing homes that do not hire enough workers will sometimes make medication errors because staff members work hard and often confuse different patients. Also, with fewer workers, there is a lack of oversight. Staff members may not devote enough time to each resident, and this can lead to residents not having their needs met. On a busy day, a staff member can easily work with twice as many patients. This can lead to:

  • Bedsores
  • Malnutrition
  • Loneliness
  • Infections
  • Dangerous falls

Patients might also develop medical conditions that may not be noticed by staff members, and this can lead to serious consequences.

Why Are Nursing Homes So Understaffed?

Staff members are often overworked, and this can create a vicious cycle. As they become burned out, they may quit. Also, hospital jobs can often pay more money, and staff members will apply for and eventually be hired for better positions.

Many agencies rely on fines to punish nursing homes for neglect and abuse. However, these fines are sometimes considered a cost of doing business. Some states have mandated that nursing homes maintain specific ratios, but many states have yet to do this. If you would like to make sure that the nursing home is held accountable, make sure to speak with a nursing home abuse lawyer about whether you should consider taking legal action. 

If you believe that your loved one is being neglected, understaffing is not an excuse. There are several agencies you may contact to fight the nursing home, and you may also choose to seek legal action.


15 June 2020