How nursing home understaffing leads to abuse and neglect

Choosing a nursing home and then leaving your loved one there is never easy, but it can prove far less emotionally taxing when you have trust in the quality of care your loved one will receive. Regrettably, however, not all American nursing homes uphold the standards you would probably like, and part of the rampant problem lies in understaffing.

Nursing home understaffing is prevalent across many parts of the country, with reporting that its affects as many as 95 percent of American nursing homes. Why?

Why nursing homes don’t have adequate staff

In many areas, nursing homes pay medical professionals far less than, say, hospitals or standard doctor’s offices, making it hard for them to secure and maintain quality caregivers. The highly stressful nature of the job and the long hours associated with it also contribute to understaffing, and some facilities also intentionally understaff in an attempt to boost their own profits. Regardless of why nursing homes don’t have enough staff members, the issue can mean big trouble when it comes to the care of your loved one.

How understaffing affects care

As you may expect, the quality of care that your loved one receives decreases when nursing homes are not staffed properly, and this can manifest in a number of different ways. If your loved one is immobile, he or she may not get enough trips to the bathroom or assisted walks outside, and decreased immobility can lead to bed sores and related problems.

When nursing homes don’t have the necessary staff, general caregiving also suffers, meaning your loved one may not get to bathe, eat, groom or receive medications in a proper and timely manner. This can lead to nutritional deficiencies and related health conditions, and when patients do not receive prescription medications as directed, a wealth of additional health problems can arise.

These are just some of the many issues that nursing home understaffing causes. If you are considering placing your loved in a particular facility, do your research and find out whether high turnover and understaffing are problems there before signing on the dotted line.