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3 ways that understaffing can harm the lives of nursing home residents

Quite a few nursing homes are for-profit institutions. As a result, there is a powerful incentive for the business running the facility to keep costs as low as possible. Not only do nursing homes notoriously pay mediocre wages for the services that workers provide, but they also often schedule the lowest number of workers that they can while remaining compliant with the law.

Chronic understaffing is a known safety issue in the nursing home industry that exposes vulnerable older adults to all kinds of challenges. The three issues below are among the most common and pressing health and safety concerns that arise because of understaffing at nursing homes.

Preventable falls

Older adults in nursing homes may need help bathing themselves or getting to the dining room in the evening. They may rely on staff members for their daily care needs. When there aren’t enough people to meet the needs of those living in the nursing home in a timely fashion, they may try to go to the bathroom or handle other personal matters without support. Preventable falls could lead to broken bones or worse.

Unchecked infection and infestation spread

Older adults do not have the robust immune systems that many younger people enjoy. Instead, they are quite vulnerable to infection. Not only are they more likely to develop infections, but they may also never harder time recovering from an infection. Nursing homes without sufficient staff on the payroll may fail to prevent infections or infestations from spreading between residents. Especially when concerning and deadly infections are on the rise, like the fast-spreading and deadly fungus Candida auris, proper sanitation practices are key to the health and safety of nursing home residents.

Medical neglect

One of the most common side effects of medical neglect in a nursing home is the development of bedsores. Those who don’t receive exercise, cushioning and rotation could end up with wounds that slowly worsen until they become incredibly painful. Bedsores can affect deep tissue and cause severe infections if they go unchecked, and they are only one of many issues that could arise because of a negligent standard of care in a nursing home.

Connecting a loved one’s medical issue with a mistake or failure by a nursing home can help family members better advocate for someone who is experiencing neglect in a professional care facility. Seeking legal guidance is often the best place to start.