The National Center of Elder Abuse claims that understaffing in nursing homes is a major issue. In fact, understaffing is so bad that the demands of residents in nearly half the nursing homes in the U.S. are not fulfilled, nor the facility successfully maintained. Unfortunately, understaffed nursing facilities and overworked employees often lead to neglect and abuse.
Out of the nearly 800 nursing home facilities in the state of Illinois, and the tens of thousands of residents, there is as an alarming increase in the number of serious abuse cases. Even with strict requirements provided by the Illinois legislature a nursing home care, understaffing in nursing homes still occurs.
Patients Wandering Away From Skilled Nursing Facilities
Many families turn to nursing home management for assistance with a loved one, and entrust the staff to provide all the necessary attention and care. Many of these residents require constant monitoring and care because they suffer from a variety of conditions including dementia, Alzheimer’s disease and others. Unfortunately, because the facility is not staffed properly, residents suffering from dementia can easily walk out of the protective confines and get hurt.
Bedsores Developing During An Admission
Countless reports from nursing home staff members and CNAs indicate that insufficient staffing at nursing facilities lead to a variety of preventable medical conditions including bedsores. Studies indicate that “care reports” are often falsified because adequate time to properly handle all residents is not possible due to short staffing.
In many incidences, bedsores (decubitus ulcers or pressure ulcers) appear on nursing home residents because the staff does not have enough time to provide a variety of prevention techniques that include:
- Reposition the patient every 2 to 3 hours
- Provide mobility assistance to use the restroom
- Ensure that the facility remains as clean as possible, including providing dry, safe betting and essential patient hygiene
- Ensure the patient receives proper nutrition and remains as active as possible
- Ensure the patient receives emotional and mental support when needed
- Makes proper use of skin mapping to prevent pressure ulcers, including filling out documentation to notate any change or marks in the appearance of the patient’s skin
- Identify and treat development of bedsores early on
Lack of Mobility Assistance
Many CNAs report that patients often lack support with their mobility needs, due to short staffing in nursing homes. On average, most nursing facilities house 35-40 residents, with only four CNAs scheduled per shift. Out of that number of patients, at least half typically require one-person assistance to meet all their mobility needs including using the restroom, taking a shower or staying active. The remaining patients usually require two-person assistance for their mobility needs. When there is not enough staff to care for patients, patients may suffer injuries from getting dropped.
Due to understaffing, all CNAs are usually busy when an elderly patient rings their bell or buzzer to call for assistance. In many cases, when there is no immediate response, the patient will often walk to the bathroom on their own, placing their self at risk of harm from falling, or wet the bed. Wetting the bed often results in increased potential of developing a bedsore or infection, along with the embarrassment and emotional grief involved.
Warning Signs That Your Loved One May Be At A Facility That’s Understaffed
There are many warning signs that neglect and abuse is happening to a loved one in a nursing home. The most common signs usually indicate neglectful actions caused by the staff. This can often include:
- Torn or dirty clothing
- Poor personal hygiene
- Fatigue and listlessness
- Begging for food and/or constant hunger
- Lack of dental or medical care
- Patients left unattended for extended periods
- Report/complaints of neglect
What to Do When You Suspect That Your Family Is Not Being Cared For
There is never an excuse for abuse or neglect of a long-term residential elder in a nursing facility or justifications to ever subject them to any malicious or unprofessional conduct. In fact, it is the duty of every nursing home administrator to remain fully aware of everything happening in the facility. Anytime there is abuse or neglect of an elderly resident of a nursing home, the facility, management and staff can be held accountable for the emotional distress and injuries caused.
Compassionate Rosenfeld Injury Lawyers believe that every elder’s rights must be protected to ensure that they receive deserved care and utmost respect while in a nursing home. Our skilled attorneys remain dedicated to holding every responsible party accountable for the suffering, pain, damages and injuries they have caused. If your loved one is the victim of nursing home abuse in Illinois, call our law firm at (888) 424-5757 for legal guidance on how to stop the neglect.