When nursing homes have difficulty retaining staff, their patients may suffer as the victims of neglect or abuse, according to the Health Services Insights. Understaffed facilities provide the perfect circumstances for incompetence, negligence, and abuse as nursing homes scramble to fill their empty caregiver positions. If the facility edge close to their maximum capacity of occupants, the responsibilities for the care of too many residents fall on the shoulders of only a few caregivers and staff members. Residents require caregivers to consistently provide daily support, including following strict medicinal regiments and dietary restrictions, treating illnesses and mental health disorders, and ensuring their safety at all times. Without enough employees to handle the medical and emotional care that residents need, the few employees may burn out themselves, leaving more gaps in the nursing home staff.
Research from the Journal of Applied Gerontology shows that nursing home administrators may solve several issues relating to neglect and abuse by putting proper practices into place before residents began to suffer at the hands of their negligence. Sadly, their studies show an average nursing home staff annual turnover rate of 85%.
Families that place their loved one in a nursing home facility have good intentions and often do not understand the extent of the issue surrounding understaffing and high turnover. When their facilities suffer from understaffing, the room for error heightens compared to care centers where employees have the luxury of working regular hours and handling normal workloads. The more shorthanded the nursing home remains, the more work falls on individual nurses, and they display less attention to detail from one task to the next.
Reasons for Difficulty Retaining Staff
Reasons for issues in staffing and quality of care in nursing homes may vary business-to-business, but it typically means that the management of the care facility itself struggles with issues. A nursing home may have retention problems for a number of factors, including, but not limited to:
- Low salaries.
- Poor benefits.
- High turnover rate.
- The difficult nature of the work.
- Inexperienced employees.
- Poor hiring practices, such as negligent background checks, a lack of drug testing, and more.
- Poor working conditions or hostility in the business.
When administrators allow these issues to persist, they also set up their existing staff to make mistakes and burnout.
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Failure to Retain Staff Leads to Abuse and Negligence
When a nursing home cannot keep employees for long periods of time, the care facility suffers at nearly every level, from simple tasks like checking in on patients to more complicated issues like their healthcare. Negative effects can include:
- Negligence surrounding the distribution of vital medication to patients.
- Failure to properly feed patients or give them liquids before or after they take their medication.
- Lack of cleanliness due to short staffing, which can quickly lead to the outbreak of dangerous diseases and sanitation issues.
- A lack of an emotional connection between staff and patients, which can cause both their mental and physical health to decline.
- Employees being forced to work longer hours.
- Confusion among patients who may suffer from conditions like Alzheimer’s or dementia.
- A lack of visitation to patients from loved ones.
- Fewer activities for residents to enjoy.
- Inexperienced staff, which can lead to injuries and illnesses.
The higher the turnover rate in a nursing home, the more likely for the issue to persist. These understaffing issues create a cycle of abuse that can negatively affect patients, whether these acts of negligence classify as intentional or accidental. New caregivers may find it difficult to truly settle in and learn the patient’s unique set of needs. As residents possess a variety of personalities and needs, having longer-tenured staff creates a better working and living environment for the nursing home at every level. When a patient suffers injury or mistreatment at a nursing home, a nursing home abuse lawyer may help protect their right to compensation.
Nursing Home Abuse Lawyers May Help You and Your Loved One
At Pintas & Mullins Law Firm, our team of attorneys want to protect nursing home residents’ right to compensation when they suffer from poor treatment by the staff of a nursing home. Our senior citizens deserve every right to live their best possible lives. When a nursing home has ongoing difficulties retaining staff, it can indicate a much larger issue taking place.
If you or a loved one has been hurt in any way by the staff of a nursing home, we want to help you. Call Pintas & Mullins Law Firm at (800) 201-3999 for your free consultation.