Dangers of Insufficient Nursing Home Staff

By Peter DePaolis

Lawyers Fighting for Victims of Understaffed Nursing Homes Washington, D.C.

Nursing Home Attorneys Explain Consequences Of Staff Shortages Leading To Elder Abuse And Neglect

wheelchair in a nursing facilityIn order to keep residents safe and healthy, nursing homes must be fully staffed around the clock. Nurses and other medical professionals may help residents eat, bathe and move around to prevent bedsores and other injuries. For those who require constant care, nurses or doctors must be available at any time of the day or night. However, when nursing homes are understaffed, these needs may not be met. Even if nurses are well trained and caring, insufficient staff can lead to nursing home neglect and even elder abuse.

If your family is dealing with the effects of elder abuse or neglect caused by an understaffed care facility, an injury attorney from our law firm can help. We have been helping victims of nursing home neglect for more than 30 years throughout the Washington, D.C. area. Our DC nursing home abuse lawyers can investigate reports of abuse and can help you hold negligent organizations accountable for your loved one’s injuries.

What are the Effects of Understaffing in Nursing Homes?

When a nursing home does not employ enough nurses or other health care professionals, neglect is almost certainly the result. Even if the staff is competent, there simply may not be enough people to handle all the work. The staff may overlook patients and residents may not get the help they need when they need it. This neglect, intentional or not, can cause a serious nursing home injury or even wrongful death.

Additionally, current employees are more likely to be overworked, which could lead to physical abuse caused by frustration and weariness. Common injuries and signs that may indicate neglect caused by understaffing include:

  • Bedsores or pressure ulcers
  • Malnutrition
  • Dehydration
  • Infections
  • Slip and fall accidents
  • Insufficient hygiene
  • Inadequate medical care
  • Complications from medication errors
  • Improper supervision, which may lead to abuse by staff or other residents

Nursing home neglect and abuse are sometimes difficult to spot, especially since elderly patients may not be able to report what is happening. Even if they can, some may feel too ashamed to speak to a personal injury lawyer or even a family member. If someone you love lives in a nursing home, you should monitor their health and well-being often. If you notice any signs of nursing home injury caused by understaffing or any other reason, report them immediately.

Why Are Nursing Homes Understaffed?

There can be many reasons behind understaffed nursing homes. Sometimes, the companies that own nursing homes intentionally hire to few doctors and nurses in order to save money. These companies often assign too many patients to each staff member and force them to work long hours of overtime. Elder care facilities have high turnover rates of trained nurses. Common problems that cause staff to leave nursing homes include low wages and overwork.

The problems of companies intentionally understaffing and overworking the staff that remain can form a vicious cycle. This cycle can make it nearly impossible for a nursing home to maintain an adequate number of nurses to care for all residents. However, there is never any excuse for nursing home neglect or abuse. Staff members do have a responsibility to report any wrongdoing within the facility, though many may not do so out of fear of repercussions. Often, the family of the victim reports and may take legal action against those responsible for nursing home neglect.

Do You Suspect Elder Abuse or Understaffing at a Care Facility? Call a Nursing Home Attorney Today

If someone you love is a resident at an understaffed nursing home, you should act quickly. Find out more about your loved one’s living conditions by visiting the nursing home. You may also consider other nursing homes and alternative living arrangements that may provide better care. If you see evidence of neglect, contact a nursing home lawyer from our Washington, D.C. law firm as soon as possible. Fill out an online case review form or contact one of our offices to schedule a free consultation today.

About the Author
Peter DePaolis joined the firm in 1980 and has since represented a large number of individuals involved in automobile collisions, truck accidents, bus crashes, defective products, and medical malpractice cases. A significant portion of Mr. DePaolis’ practice is devoted to working on behalf of people suffering from asbestosis, mesothelioma, and other asbestos-related cancers. He has led his firm’s fight against the asbestos industry and has recovered over $30 million in damages for asbestos victims and their families.