Understaffed nursing homes lead to serious injuries, even deaths

Sakkas Cahn & Weiss

One of the biggest problems in nursing homes across the country is that many do not have enough people on staff. Unfortunately, this is not a new issue. Understaffing has been a consistent concern for years.

This is a nationwide problem. However, here in New York, the most recent report determined that a mere 31 out of 617 nursing homes had appropriate staffing levels. This news is rightfully alarming, but it is essential that families understand the risks this problem poses.

Low staff numbers can have considerable consequences

Understaffing is one of the primary causes of neglect and nursing home abuse injuries. Understaffing can also lead to wrongful deaths.

Residents in nursing homes have needs that require tending every day – just like everyone else. However, they often require more assistance to accomplish tasks such as using the restroom, dressing for the day and bathing. If nursing homes have low staffing, many of these needs get overlooked and ignored.

One 2018 report found that in some situations, the ratio of staff to residents can be as extreme as one worker to 18 residents. It is not possible for one person to properly see to the needs of 18 people.

This kind of ratio frequently places residents at risk of suffering:

  • Dehydration
  • Bedsores
  • Septic shock
  • Various infections
  • Emotional distress

While understaffing is a larger issue, nursing homes could prevent these serious injuries and fatalities if they had enough people on staff.

Why should you be aware of this risk?

It is critical to be aware of understaffing issues for two reasons:

  1. You and your family can be on the lookout for the risks listed above and take action to protect your loved one
  2. You can ensure you consider and evaluate staffing levels when choosing which facility to trust with your loved one’s care

You want to make sure your loved one receives the best possible care as they age. If you understand the potential risks, you can proactively protect your loved one.

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