Overworked and underpaid staff members and caregivers will likely mistreat a nursing home resident. Therefore, understaffing a nursing facility could indirectly result in abuse.
Reasons for Nursing Home Understaffing
A nursing facility’s owners or management may purposely understaffed the institution for several reasons. One of the reasons why owners purposefully do it is to cut down on labor costs. Management may skew their numbers in favor of high resident-to-staff ratios.
In some cases, nursing facilities may have a hard time hiring or retaining enough certified nursing assistants (CNAs) and registered nurses to care for the residents of nursing homes fully. Staff employees’ availability may be overbooked due to a high turnover rate, leading to them being overburdened with work.
The Issue with Overtime in Nursing Facilities
In nursing facilities, working overtime is a very typical occurrence. It can increase the employees’ stress levels, especially if they are already working long shifts. Many staff employees and nurses see overtime as a perk because it will increase their pay. In addition to earning respect from the management, working overtime can demonstrate a staff member’s loyalty to the nursing home.
However, working overtime can foster the impression that workers must put in a disproportionate amount of effort to earn respect. Staff that is overworked and unable to deliver quality treatment to patients is bad for everyone involved.
Consequences of Nursing Home Understaffing
Understaffing can have a lot of negative effects. One of the biggest ones is a decline in the quality of care provided to the residents. The likelihood of abuse and neglect will rise if staff workers are under too much stress. The issue of abuse and neglect gets worse when the resident-to-staff member ratio spirals out of control.
The nursing home patients may experience a spike in psychological issues and medical ailments. In extreme cases, some may even pass away as a result of negligence. Residents may encounter more stress-related illnesses and mental health issues when a nursing facility is understaffed.
Understaffing Can Lead to Serious Neglect
The seniors rely on their carers to care for their eating, dressing, and medication needs. If, for example, the resident requires assistance going to the bathroom, they may suffer from poor hygiene, develop sores, and contract infections if they are not regularly groomed or bathed.
Nursing facilities with insufficient staff may struggle to feed and administer medication to all of the residents on time. If they aren’t receiving their medication on time, residents may suffer malnutrition. In such instances, you may have to bring in a nursing home lawyer to protect the elderly.
Signs Your Loved One’s Home Is Understaffed
Understaffing in nursing home facilities often manifests as neglect on your loved ones. Here are a few signs to look out for:
Emotional or Psychological Changes
If your loved one demonstrates signs of emotional or psychological abuse, they may be facing neglect in their nursing home. Here are a few signs to look out for:
- Depression and anxiety
- Complaints about poor treatment
- Tense or strained relationships
- Changes in alertness
- Withdrawal from hobbies and regular activities
- Recurrent crying
If there aren’t enough employees to take care of your loved one, they are susceptible to sexual abuse. Here are a few signs of sexual abuse:
- Pelvic injury
- Panic attacks
- Bloody, stained, or torn underwear
- Sudden difficulty in walking
- Irritation or pain around their genitals or anus
- Post-traumatic stress disorder
Sometimes, negligence manifests as physical abuse. Look out for the following signs:
- Bruises, broken bones, and cuts
- Inexplicable falls
- Overdoses and other medical errors
Unhygienic Living Conditions
A nursing home’s living quarters, bedding, and clothing must be spotless. Mold and bugs should not be present in the facilities. Your loved one could be experiencing neglect if the nursing home is filthy.
Nursing homes with staffing concerns are less likely to stop residents from accidentally hurting themselves or others or doing so on purpose. As a result, residents may sustain catastrophic wounds such as broken bones, cuts, and scratches.
Additionally, staff workers could fail to report nursing home injuries in a timely manner. They may be unaware of the exact nature of the resident’s injury.
Actions to Take If You Suspect Abuse
You might be entitled to compensation if you suspect your loved one is being mistreated or neglected at their care facility or if you think abuse or neglect had a role in their untimely death. Take the following actions as soon as possible;
Seek Medical Help
As soon as you can, take your loved one to a hospital or other type of care facility for assessment. Contact a nursing home abuse lawyer immediately if the nursing staff doesn’t let you remove your loved one from the institution.
Record the Abuse
Document the situation as soon as you become aware that your loved one is the victim of abuse or neglect. Take photos of any apparent wounds and the room’s situation. If you can, get the testimonies of staff and resident witnesses.
Relocate Your loved one
Try to transfer your loved one to a different institution if you can. It could take some time to find a new institution. Therefore, you must be sure to record and report the abuse as soon as possible. Take advantage of online resources to find the best homes.
It’s essential to consider taking legal action if a loved one has been facing negligence in a nursing home. A nursing home abuse lawsuit can help you seek redress. It may help prevent more negligence in the future. You deserve financial compensation for the damages suffered by your loved one.
Nursing homes should offer a comprehensive range of health and personal care services. They include round-the-clock supervision, help with daily tasks, prescription administration, therapy, and meal preparation.
To maintain proper staffing, a nursing institution must hire both registered and licensed nurses. A nursing facility might, however, occasionally have trouble hiring and keeping employees. In such cases, the residents suffer. Understaffing takes a toll on both the residents and staff. Take advantage of the above tips to determine if your loved one may be facing neglect.