Understaffing can cause nursing home neglect and abuse

On Behalf of | Apr 27, 2021 | Injuries

Pennsylvania residents who have elderly loved ones typically give much consideration to the idea of placing their loved ones in a nursing home before actually taking that step. You may have had many concerns about placing your family member in the care of other individuals, but you also knew that you did not have the means to provide the proper care yourself.

In the end, you felt it best to have professionals handle your loved one’s 24/7 care. Unfortunately, your trust in the staff may not have lasted as long as you had hoped as you started noticing signs of abuse or neglect in your loved one.

Is understaffing the issue?

It is no secret that many nursing home facilities across the country lack enough staff members. One report indicated that some facilities have a 60:1 patient-to-nurse ratio. As you might have guessed, there is little likelihood that nurses stretched that thin could provide adequate round-the-clock care to all patients. As a result, many patients suffer severe issues due to neglect, such as:

  • Weight loss
  • Injuries from falls
  • Bedsores
  • Malnutrition and dehydration
  • Infections

Nurses themselves recognize how dangerous the situation can be. One nurse stated that, while measuring a dose of insulin for one patient, she had to intervene in an altercation between two other patients. The situation distracted her, but she went back to measuring the insulin dosage. After checking, she realized she had drawn up nearly seven times the amount the patient should receive. Fortunately, she caught her mistake before administering the dose, and no patient suffered harm, but it just shows how easily a potentially deadly mistake could occur.

Stressed and overwhelmed

Overworked nursing staff can quickly become stressed and overwhelmed by the amount of work they have to do. Even those who want to do their best could still make major errors because they have to handle so many obligations at once rather than giving each patient the one-on-one attention necessary.

While the nurses themselves may not control how many staff members are on duty at any given time, they are still responsible for providing proper care. If you believe that your loved one suffered harm due to the neglect or abuse of overworked nursing staff members, you may have reason to take legal action. Holding the staff members and those responsible for the nursing home operations accountable for that harm may be of interest to you.