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Nursing home understaffing issues put residents at risk

On Behalf of | Apr 6, 2018 | Nursing Home Neglect |

When it comes to selecting the right nursing home or retirement community in the New York City area for a loved one, careful consideration must be given to all options. Regardless of how much care and thought one puts into selection, there is still the possibility of their family member experiencing abuse and neglect at the hands of their caregivers. Understaffing is a prevalent problem in nursing homes across the nation. According to U.S. News & World Report, “proper and consistent staff-to-resident ratios are essential” to ensure quality of care and treatment nursing home residents receive. 

Common factors that lead to understaffing 

Nursing homes often provide around-the-clock care for residents. Labor costs are often a barrier for many assisted-living facilities, making it challenging for them to maintain an adequate number of staff members for every resident. Understaffing leads to current workers being overworked, stressed, fatigued and more likely to make mistakes that compromise resident health and safety, such as ignoring/forgetting about seniors, not checking and assisting them as often as necessary, administering the wrong medications and dosages and not staying current with training and education. 

Understaffing increases the likelihood of staff not recognizing signs of health issues and safety hazards. Insufficient staffing also increases the risk of workers relying on chemical restraints like antipsychotic drugs to subdue residents, states StatNews. 

Nursing home labor costs are rapidly increasing and an issue for many senior care facilities. Some nursing homes may try to cut corners by hiring fewer workers in an effort to reduce their operating expenses. This is not only a direct violation of the laws and local and federal regulations that are in place to protect seniors. It also places the safety, health and well-being of residents at risk.