Understaffing in Nursing Home Facilities

Why Understaffing is a Major Problem in Nursing Homes

Posted on behalf of Jeff Pitman on September 17, 2019 in Nursing Home Abuse
Updated on February 24, 2022

lady and blanketThe statistics related to understaffing in nursing homes are startling. According to Nursing Home Abuse Guide, forty-six percent of nurses have excessive workloads in nursing homes. More than 90 percent of all nursing homes in the country are understaffed. And over 20 percent of nursing homes fail to provide proper care because of understaffing.

If someone you love has suffered at the hands of nursing home staff members, contact an experienced Milwaukee nursing home abuse lawyer at PKSD. During a free consultation, we can explain neglect, understaffing and various errors or mistakes that may have played a part in your loved one’s abuse.  

How Understaffing Affects Residents

Nursing home staff have a duty of care to provide quality care to residents. But when a home is understaffed, it may lead to serious issues, such as:

  • Medication errors
  • Negligence
  • Various types of abuse of residents
  • Too much stress, which leads to mistakes
  • A lack of personalized care
  • Diet and nutrition errors

Without a more personal relationship with residents, staff members may not be able to tend to each resident’s needs like medication, nutrition and mobility issues.

Medication Errors

Staff members tend to make medication errors when they are overworked or lack proper training. When nursing homes are understaffed, this could lead to staff members taking on more shifts without having a proper break. When nursing home staff members do not receive enough time off to rest, mistakes are more likely to happen.

Additional problems arise when these employees do not receive proper training to ensure each resident has the correct dosage and type of medication based on the day and condition. It is vital to double-check medicine to prevent serious harm.

Immobility-Related Harm

Residents with mobility issues tend to suffer in understaffed nursing homes because they need support to move and must be turned often to prevent injuries. These injuries can include the following:

  • Bedsores
  • Muscle weakness
  • Malnutrition or dehydration
  • Cuts and bruises from falls

Malnutrition or Dehydration

Staff members must be aware of each resident’s nutritional needs, such as allergies or limits on certain types of foods. In understaffed homes, employees may overlook these needs and give the resident whatever is available. In abusive situations, employees may purposely refuse to bring items to those who are immobile or not able to look after themselves.

Poor Hygiene

Neglect and abuse can lead to poor hygiene. This usually happens when a staff member does not assist in cleaning and grooming the resident, or a staff member targets a resident by purposely not tending to a resident’s hygienic needs.  

The nursing home may be so understaffed that other employees are not aware of this form of abuse that is taking place.

Staffing Requirements

Federal insurance programs require one registered nurse to be placed in nursing homes with no more than 60 beds and two full-time registered nurses in nursing homes with more than 60 beds. The nurse must be present eight consecutive hours for seven days a week to provide sufficient care. They are required to maintain the highest practicable physical, mental and psychological well-being of each resident by providing for the dietary, nutritional and other health-related matters such as exercise and activities for the patients.

Contact a Licensed Attorney Today

If your loved one has been abused or neglected, reach out to PKSD. If you have a case, our lawyers can investigate the claim, gather evidence of the abuse and determine who is liable and fight for compensation on behalf of your loved one. We offer a free, no obligation consultation to discuss your claim. Our services are provided on a contingency fee basis so there are no upfront cost or legal fees. We only get paid if we successfully obtain compensation.

Call us at 877-877-2228.

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