Understaffing in Georgia Nursing Homes
When nursing homes and other long-term care facilities fail to hire enough staff, patient care is affected. The risk of neglect and abuse escalates, the standard of care decreases, and residents are in danger of negative consequences such as illness, infections, falls, medication errors, and malnutrition.
Understaffing is often the underlying cause of abuse and neglect in long-term care facilities. When nurses and other caregivers are overworked, they have less time to spend with the residents, are rushed to get their work done, and they are tired.
Exhaustion can escalate to abuse when nurses and other staff take their anxiety and anger out on the residents. Understaffing is a practice that places profits over resident safety. It leads to more money for nursing home owners and operators, and less care for your loved one.
Understaffed Nursing Home Statistics
ABC News article reported that after eight years of research, health officials confirmed that understaffing in long-term care facilities endangers residents and increases their risk of abnormal weight loss, bedsores, infections, and other consequences of neglect.
The study found that 54 percent of U.S. nursing homes currently fall below the proposed minimum standard set by the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, which requires residents receive a minimum of two hours of care each day from nurses’ aides and other staff.
Additionally, 31 percent of nursing homes fail to meet the standard that residents receive at least 12 minutes of care each day from a registered nurse.
Effects of an Understaffed Nursing Home
- Poor personal hygiene
- Rampant infections
- Repeated hospital visits
- Unexplained bruises/injuries
- Sudden weight loss
- Unsanitary living conditions
- Medication errors
- Unanswered questions or poor communication with family
- Unanswered phone calls
- High staff turnover
What can you do?
If you suspect your loved one’s nursing home isn’t adequately staffed, you should talk to a supervisor, social worker, administrator, director of nursing, or your loved one’s doctor to express your concerns. If your complaint isn’t resolved quickly, it may be time to reach out to a nursing home abuse lawyer. You can reach one of our skilled nursing home abuse attorneys at (706) 354-4000 for a free consultation.
Your loved one deserves optimal care, and an understaffed nursing home is typically filled with overworked employees who are exhausted, always in a hurry, and often neglect residents. It’s also important to report nursing home abuse or neglect to the Department of Human Services Division of Aging Services. You can report abuse or neglect online here, or call (866) 552-4464. In some circumstances, it may be necessary to call 911.