Nursing home abuse and neglect is a sad reality here in Virginia and all across the United States. However, one of the more common questions asked is why nursing home abuse and neglect occurs in the first place. After all, nursing homes are extremely expensive. How is it possible for families to be paying top dollar for care but still encounter abuse and neglect of their loved ones? According to the Nursing Home Abuse Center, the most common cause of nursing home abuse and neglect is understaffing.
Again, it is important to note that nursing home neglect is much more common than outright abuse. Essentially, the difference between abuse and neglect is that abuse is active harm while neglect is negligent action. Of course, nursing home neglect can be just as harmful as abuse. However, neglect is more likely to happen if the nurses and CNAs are few and far between. One of the more common injuries at nursing homes is falls. These often happen when there is not enough staff around to supervise the residents properly.
Neglect can also cause serious problems for elders who may be bedridden. Again, if there is not enough staff to attend to individual needs, bedridden individuals may end up with bedsores or worse. If individuals are neglected and bedridden, they can quickly deteriorate.
Finally, understaffing can cause a lot of stress to the staff that is on hand. If a nurse or CNA is very overworked, the likelihood of that individual making a mistake or simply overlooking something due to fatigue is high. It only takes a small mistake for a resident to accidentally take the wrong medication or slip and fall.