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Staffing issues contribute to nursing home abuse and neglect risk

Nursing homes exist because older adults frequently have needs that they cannot meet on their own behalf. They may initially rely on spouses, children or even neighbors for support. However, as their health declines and their needs increase, they may find themselves in need of around-the-clock support.

Families sometimes reach the uncomfortable realization that aging loved ones have needs they cannot meet. They then look for assistance from nursing homes and similar long-term care facilities.   Nursing homes have staff members on hand 24/7 for the protection and safety of residents. They provide support for those without nearby family members or with extensive medical needs.

Staff members can help with everything from mealtime and personal hygiene to the administration of medication. Unfortunately, neglect is a common issue in modern nursing homes. Staffing issues frequently contribute to elevated negligence risks in nursing home environments.

Many nursing homes are understaffed

One of the main reasons residents may lack adequate support at a nursing home is inadequate staffing. The cost to keep workers on hand at a nursing home is one of the biggest contributors to overall operational expenses. Many nursing homes are run by for-profit businesses. Companies try to cut costs by keeping the minimum number of workers on hand. That may mean that residents don’t receive regular support. They may have to wait 30 minutes or more to go to the bathroom or get help when they fall. Understaffing also increases the risk of employee burnout.

Low compensation is another issue

Nursing homes typically try to pay the least that they can for the services of each professional assisting patients at the facility. The result of such practices is a high turnover rate and difficulty recruiting new professionals. Additionally, workers may resent their jobs because of the compensation and may take that out on residents in their care. They may also engage in quiet quitting practices where they slow down their work or minimize what they do as a way of fighting back against their low wages. The unfortunate result of such practices is that residents don’t receive the degree of support that they deserve.

Concerned family members can potentially take legal action in response to nursing home neglect that occurs because of systemic failures on the part of a business. Connecting a substandard level of support with improper staffing practices can help families demand accountability from the businesses that operate nursing homes in unacceptable ways.

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