Any nursing home requires qualified and experienced staff in order to provide treatment and care to its residents. When there’s a shortage of nurses and other essential employees, the quality of care suffers. Unfortunately, industry-wide staffing shortages are depriving residents at facilities across the country of the qualified care they deserve – potentially leading to neglect and abuse.
Healthcare Industry-wide Staffing Shortages Affect Nursing Homes
The staffing shortage at nursing homes is one part of a problem facing the entire healthcare industry, according to recent reporting by Forbes. There are fewer available doctors, nurses, and other staffers right now for a variety of reasons, and nursing homes are competing with hospitals and emergency rooms over the same diminished labor pool. Compounding this tight market is the fact that these other facilities are often able to pay higher wages than nursing homes and consequently get first pick of the available workers.
The issue compounds from there. Hospitals are legally barred from releasing patients before it is safe to do so, which leads to a shortage of beds. Patients with complicated conditions who could be sent home with in-house care are unable to get that care, and are forced to stay at the hospital. And as profits dry up, many nursing homes are forced to close, especially those in rural areas where margins were already tight.
The Dangers of Understaffed Nursing Homes
Every nursing home must have a sufficient staff-to-patient ratio. When these facilities experience staffing shortages, there’s a decline in the health of the residents. Since there aren’t enough employees to provide consistent and quality care to each patient, illnesses and injuries occur at higher rates.
Understaffing also leads to burnout and errors. When additional responsibilities fall on the shoulders of the few employees left in the nursing home, they work longer hours. They’re bombarded by various tasks and can’t take the time to perform their jobs correctly. Mistakes end up happening, causing harm to the residents.
Common Injuries/Illnesses Suffered by Residents Due to Understaffing
Understaffing can cause numerous types of medical issues. When patients don’t receive the daily assistance and medical care necessary, their health declines. The most common injuries and illnesses due to understaffing include:
- Broken bones
- Adverse side effects from medication errors
- Cognitive decline
- Psychological issues, such as depression and anxiety
- Head injuries
Compensation for Nursing Home Neglect
Nursing home residents who sustain an injury or develop an illness due to neglect or abuse can pursue compensation. The money recovered in an insurance claim or lawsuit could compensate for losses suffered, such as:
- Medical bills
- Pain and suffering
- Loss of enjoyment of life
- Out-of-pocket expenses
- Emotional distress
- Damage to personal property
- Punitive damages (only in lawsuits)
- Wrongful death compensation (for surviving family members of deceased nursing home residents)
How a Lawyer Could Help
At The Law Firm of Carlton F. Bennett, P.L.L.C., our legal team believes in fighting to protect our clients. We will be by your side to guide you through the process as we pursue the compensation you deserve. You won’t have to navigate the complexities of your case alone. You can count on us to be there for you every step of the way.
Call The Law Firm of Carlton F. Bennett, P.L.L.C., immediately if your loved one suffered abuse or neglect in a nursing home. We can review your case and determine if your family member is entitled to compensation for their injury. Call us today at 757-453-1805 for your free consultation.