Every year, at least 10 million elders experience abuse and neglect. Many more cases likely go unreported, which means too many seniors are suffering in silence.
Putting a loved one in a nursing home is an incredibly difficult decision, so it’s all the more heartbreaking when he or she is taken advantage of, or abused. As a nursing home lawyer Memphis TN turns to, I have seen the role understaffing plays in abuse and neglect. One of the best way to ensure a senior citizen in your life receives the care they deserve is to recognize trouble in advance.
There are many forms of nursing home abuse and negligence, from pressure ulcers to dehydration. The abuse can be physical or psychological. More often than not, the abuse starts with staffing issues. Sometimes the staff has not been properly trained. In countless other cases, there simply aren’t enough staff members to offer the care that each resident needs.
At least 95% of nursing homes in the United States are understaffed. Here are some reasons why.
- Sometimes nursing home management will intentionally opt for high resident-to-staff member ratios to cut costs.
- Sometimes staff turnover is the problem. Nursing homes may struggle to retain skilled, certified nurses and assistants. In turn, this puts an extra burden on the existing staff members, which may lead them to unintentionally neglect some of their duties.
- The phenomenon of overtime — many staff members take on extra hours to prove their loyalty. But this can often lead to unreasonable demands, at the expense of a vulnerable patient.
How does understaffing lead to abuse or neglect?
- Understaffed facilities often mean overextended staff — even well-meaning caregivers may forget to check in on an elder or give them their medication.
- Overextended staff may feel impatient. They may suddenly snap at residents or, in worse cases, hurt them.
- Numerous other mistakes happen when you’re one person trying to do the work of many more.
Effects of understaffing on nursing home residents
- Forms of neglect including pressure ulcers and skin conditions often stem from understaffing. To avoid these conditions, patients need to be regularly turned over in bed. Without enough staff, this does not happen frequently enough.
- Other forms of neglect, including malnutrition and complications from not taking medications on schedule, also relate to understaffing. Overextended workers may struggle to feed residents and administer their medication on a routine schedule.
- Understaffing can also lead to neglect or even physical abuse. Nurses who have abused patients often report understaffing-related stress, which they see as a cause for their behavior.
Nursing Home Lawyer Memphis TN
The understaffing of nursing homes is a huge problem. We need to hold these facilities accountable for abuse and neglect related to understaffing. Many have already been held accountable, and victims have received the compensation and justice they deserve.
However, nursing home lawsuits are not uncommon. When searching for a nursing home neglect lawyer it is important that you choose a firm with experience in the investigation and litigation in nursing home neglect lawsuits.
If you suspect your loved one has been neglected or abused in a nursing home, call us at (901) 327-1212 or contact us online. You can rest assured we want to put an end to this awful abuse.