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Nursing home staffing problems may cause neglect

| Mar 27, 2020 | Elder Abuse

A nursing home should be a place where your elderly loved one can receive proper care. However, in the event a nursing home is not helping your relative to dress, go to the bathroom, or neglects to provide regular medication for your loved one, it is possible the home might lack the workers to care for your relative.

While many nursing homes have the right amount of workers to attend to their residents, not all homes have enough workers to do so. The problem of understaffed nursing homes is something news outlets have reported on in the past few years. If left unchecked, an understaffed nursing home can neglect its residents and may risk their health.

Staffing challenges

An article run in Modern Healthcare explains that many nursing homes possess staff levels that are lower than what the homes actually report, according to the U.S. Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS). The article explained that nursing homes suffered a drop in staffers on duty over the weekends and saw a particular decrease in the number of registered nurses on duty.

According to the article, the nursing home sector faces issues recruiting staffers because of competition from other workplaces like the retail sector. With more baby boomers nearing retirement, more workers will leave the workplace. Also, the increasing age of many boomers means that the demand for skilled nursing homes will increase, which will place a greater need for nursing home workers.

Dangers of understaffing

U.S. News and World Report explains some of the problems that come with an understaffed nursing home. Lacking the staffers to provide proper care, some homes resort to overmedicating residents to control their behavior. They may use antipsychotic medications to calm residents who suffer from dementia. Such overmedication is inappropriate and may constitute unlawfully restraining residents.

A lack of workers could impact a nursing home in other ways. A home may neglect the general needs of its residents. A home might fail to institute a proper infection control program. Some homes may not screen their applicants correctly and hire people who have histories of abuse. Some people also have problems with nursing homes evicting their relatives on the grounds that they cannot care for them any longer.