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Understaffing in Nursing Homes

Many nursing homes have been charged with neglect. However, in many cases, this neglect is unintentional, and it is often caused by understaffing in nursing homes.

Understaffing is an issue that affects more than 90 percent of nursing homes. Many facilities tend to cut back on staffing in order to save money. However, a lack of staff leads to inadequate care, and this lack of attention can lead to serious injuries, illnesses, and even death.

If your loved one’s health is taking a turn for the worse, the nursing facility may be to blame. Our Chicago nursing home lawyers at Staver Accident Injury Lawyers, P.C. can help you recover compensation for your loved one’s suffering due to understaffing in nursing homes. Call a Chicago nursing home attorney today at (312) 236-2900 for a free case consultation.

Reasons for Understaffing

Cost is a major issue for nursing homes. Most of the money the facility makes goes to employee wages. This causes facilities to cut back on staff, which negatively affects patients.

It’s also difficult to retain qualified employees due to a nursing home’s stressful environment. In addition, nursing homes do not compensate their employees well. Even with overtime, the pay is low. Thus, many nurses would prefer to work in hospitals and medical clinics, where wages are often much higher.

Consequences of Understaffing

When there aren’t enough employees in a nursing home, patients will receive very little care. For example, due to understaffing, there may not be enough time to take note of changes in patient health. In fact, having an excessive workload has caused 46 percent of nursing home staff members to miss out on changes to their patients’ health. This is a serious issue that can lead to hospitalization and even death.

Health officials have noted that understaffing causes a variety of health issues in patients. It often leads to malnutrition and weight loss due to missing meals. These conditions can develop into serious issues, such as dehydration and infections, and if not promptly treated, they can lead to death.

Those who are immobile are the most at risk because they cannot move on their own. They require assistance to get in and out of bed, use the restroom, and roll over.

Staff members are affected as well. An excessive workload leads to stress and exhaustion. In this environment, mistakes are more likely to be made and employees are less likely to pay attention to detail. In addition, too much stress can cause an employee to lash out and potentially abuse a patient.

Liability Issues

The incidents associated with understaffing can be easily prevented. Patients have rights, and no patient should ever be neglected.

Understaffing is a growing problem affecting many nursing homes, and people are starting to take note. More and more families are taking advantage of their legal rights and holding nursing homes and their employees liable for their loved one’s neglect, declining health, bruises, injuries, illnesses, mental anguish, and more.

Nursing homes have a duty to provide a high standard of care to patients. When this duty is breached, it is considered negligence and neglect. Those accused of neglect could face criminal penalties.

Getting Legal Help

While understaffing is a common practice, it’s not in the patients’ best interests. In many cases, employees are tasked with caring for a dozen or more patients each. This does not give nurses and aides adequate time to care for patients and handle their medications and other needs.

States mandate a minimum number of employees and time spent caring for patients based on facility size. These requirements are hardly ever met, and facilities are overworking employees. This leads to deadly mistakes.

If you suspect understaffing, check out the facility and see how many employees are working at one time. Don’t be afraid to speak up and raise concerns to staff and administration. You can also let local and welfare agencies know about the situation.

Call a Chicago Nursing Home Abuse Lawyer Today

Our Chicago nursing home lawyers at Staver Accident Injury Lawyers, P.C. can review your case and help hold your loved one’s nursing home accountable for their injuries and pain and suffering due to understaffing. To learn more about your loved one’s legal rights, contact a Chicago nursing home lawyer at (312) 236-2900 for a free case assessment. You may be able to recover compensation.