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An Understaffed Nursing Home Could Lead to Patient Neglect

On Behalf of Gierth-Eddy Law Offices, PLLC June 28, 2021

Staff shortages can lead to severe reductions in the quality of treatment provided by residential care facilities. According to a survey conducted by the American Health Care Association and National Center for Assisted Living, 94% of nursing home respondents claimed to have a staffing shortage.

As reported by Skilled Nursing News, high employee turnover contributes to a facility’s lack of adequate staffing. Approximately 75% of facilities surveyed claimed they experienced workforce issues between 2020 and 2021.

Neglect May Result in Premature Deaths

When facilities cannot hire or bring in an adequate number of employees to care for their patients, nursing home residents may experience harm. As reported by PBS, thousands of residents in long-term care facilities across the nation died from neglect during the pandemic from causes not related to the virus.

An unreasonable lack of care caused by a loss of staff may result in a range of physical, mental or emotional injuries among residents. As noted by the Mayo Clinic, untreated infections, for example, may lead to potentially lethal conditions such as sepsis, which may trigger body-wide inflammation and lead to organ failure.

Poor Nutrition and Hygiene May Cause Harm

Elderly patients often require assistance with eating and daily hygiene. When left unattended, a resident may become malnourished or dehydrated. Visiting family members may detect signs of nutritional neglect when they observe their loved one’s weight loss or weakness. A failure to maintain patients’ hygiene may also cause harm. Bedsores and peeled skin may develop and lead to infections and other medical conditions.

Family members who visit patients regularly may add a layer of extra monitoring that could help determine if a facility has adequate staffing. If a facility’s substandard care or neglect causes harm to a loved one, a family may require a legal action to provide a remedy.