Nursing homes are tasked with caring for some of the most vulnerable members of society, and many nursing homes provide this care with great pride. However, employing an adequate number of properly trained staff members can be a major expense for many care facilities, and some attempt to reduce this expense by hiring a limited staff. If a nursing home or assisted care facility does not have enough employees, their standards of patient care can gradually deteriorate to the point of nursing home neglect and abuse. If a loved one has been abused or neglected at a nursing home due to Palm Beach County nursing home understaffing, consult a capable and passionate attorney that could fight for your loved one.
Impact of Understaffing on Patient Care
Palm Beach County nursing home understaffing is a widespread problem that impacts millions of individuals and families across the country. Nursing homes are legally required to retain a specific number of staff members, but many refuse to follow such laws in the hopes of reducing operating expenses.
If a nursing home is chronically understaffed, family members of patients should be on the lookout for the following signs of neglect:
- Muscle atrophy and bedsores
- Poor personal hygiene or grooming
- Nutritional deficiencies
- Missed or improperly administered medications
- Unsanitary living conditions
Simply put, these problems often occur because a home lacks a sufficient number of staff members to provide adequate care to all residents. But in doing so, the nursing home may be behaving negligently and may be held liable for damages.
Understaffing to Cut Operation Costs
Palm Beach County nursing home understaffing occurs for a variety of reasons, many of which are directly related to profits. Nursing homes are businesses that provide care to older and infirm individuals, and like any other type of business, they strive to reduce operational costs and increase revenue.
Labor can be remarkably expensive. It is not uncommon for a nursing home to spend a significant portion of its revenue on labor. To reduce operating costs, some homes reduce the size of their staff. Many nursing homes also have difficulty attracting and retaining employees due to long hours and low pay. When a nursing home has a low staff-to-resident ratio, the facility can become dangerous for residents, and the potential for abuse and neglect increases.
Staff Fatigue and Burnout
When a nursing home consistently understaffs, the members of the current staff are often forced to work considerably harder to make up for the shortage of manpower. This excessive overtime can cause staff members to suffer from fatigue and burnout, which in turn reduces the quality of care they can provide.
Additionally, in comparison to well-rested employees, exhausted nursing home workers are far more likely to make serious mistakes that can compromise the health and safety of residents. The safety of residents should never depend on a small team of tired and inattentive workers. Understaffing can have dangerous consequences for both employees and those they care for.
Watch Out for Understaffing in a Nursing Home
Palm Beach County nursing home understaffing is a major problem that may not be resolved unless residents and their family members take action. The desire for any business to save money and cut costs when possible is strong, and understandably so. But those cost-cutting measures should not impact the lives of the ones you love.
Unless an offending nursing home is held accountable for its actions, it can continue to endanger the lives of its residents and employees. For more information on understaffing in nursing homes, and how that facility can be held accountable for its actions, consult a Palm Beach County personal injury attorney today.