Staffing shortages can cause nursing home neglect and abuse because overwhelmed, burned-out, and underpaid nursing home employees are more likely to make mistakes and neglect residents. Understaffing of nursing homes can result in a plethora of negative consequences, as residents are more likely to suffer from medication errors and are more prone to deadly falls and bedsores.
Consequences of Staffing Shortages in Nursing Homes
Inadequate nursing home staffing can cause staff members to be less attentive and careful or even cause them to be abusive to residents. Staffing shortages can also lead to such types of nursing home neglect as:
- Forgetting to deliver meals;
- Failure to administer medication;
- Forgetting or failing to assist with eating or hygiene;
- Failure accompany bed-bound residents to the bathroom; and
- Failure to answer calls for pain medication.
This is just a short list of forms of nursing home neglect resulting from understaffing in long-term care facilities. Unfortunately, the problem of staffing shortages in nursing homes is not uncommon. One government study once found that 90% of nursing homes in the U.S. are short-staffed.
Residents of Understaffed Nursing Homes are More Likely to Suffer Abuse and Neglect
Understaffing is a common underlying cause of nursing home abuse and neglect in Kentucky and all across the nation. When long-term care facilities lack adequate staff, their caregivers are more likely to make mistakes and end up neglecting residents. In addition, when caregivers are overworked, stressed, and burned out, they are more likely to engage in abusive and violent behaviors toward residents. Meanwhile, residents who live in understaffed long-term care facilities are more likely to suffer from:
- Weight loss
- Lack of medical care
Many residents of nursing homes are dependent upon the facility’s staff for their eating, medications, grooming, and bathing, while many others need assistance to get to the bathroom. Understaffed nursing homes are more likely to fail at giving medications to and feeding residents on a routine schedule. Staffing shortages in nursing homes lead to increased stress levels among staff members, which, in turn, heightens the risk of nursing home abuse. Other causes of abuse in nursing homes are:
- Underpaid staff
- Individual caregiver issues
- Inadequate supervision or management
- Lack of staff training and experience
- Lack of accountability
As caregivers in understaffed nursing homes have limited time to care for each resident, staff members are more likely to lose patience and engage in violent, abusive, and aggressive behaviors when providing critical assistance to residents.
Holding Understaffed Nursing Home Accountable for Neglect and Abuse
If your loved one has been a victim of neglect or abuse in a nursing home, you can sue the facility for its staffing shortage. Many understaffed nursing homes have been ordered to pay hundreds of thousands or millions of dollars in compensation to residents who suffered from abuse or neglect as well as wrongful death caused by inadequate staffing. If your parent or grandparent has been a victim of nursing home understaffing, talk to our attorney at Roberts Law Office. Let our knowledgeable lawyer review your situation and help you obtain compensation for the resulting harm. Call at (859) 231-0202 to receive a consultation.