Inadequate Staffing a Warning Sign for Elder Abuse

Nationwide, nursing homes often face staffing shortages. Few states have regulations that require the presence of Register Nurses (RN) 24 hours per day. Other staff members such as nurses aides or assistants have little to no training. This often leads to cases of abuse and neglect.

There are many federal and state laws in place to safeguard the residents of nursing homes. Despite this, as many as 1 in 20 patients become the victims of abuse in neglect. Further than that, only about 1 in 14 cases are ever reported to the authorities.

Intentional abuse in nursing homes does happen. However, more frequently, the main cause of unintended abuse leading to injury and death is unintended negligence. Most nursing homes are run by for-profit companies.

A study shows that most nursing homes fall below recommended levels for nurses aide staffing and 1 in 4, or 25% of nursing homes fall below suggested levels for licensed staff members.

Nursing home residents often have severe cognitive disabilities and multiple chronic conditions. These situations can lead to sudden changes in condition where a RN is the best qualified staff member to decide on a course of treatment.

Yet, federal regulations only require that nursing homes receiving Medicare and Medicaid funding have a RN on staff 8 hours, 7 days per week. Only seven states require RN coverage round-the-clock in nursing homes: Connecticut, Delaware, District of Columbia, Hawaii, Maryland, Rhode Island and Tennessee.

Nurses aides provide the most needed day-to-day care. Yet, these are the lowest paid and least trained staff members. Low pay and high work load often leads to burnout and high turnover rates for these essential positions.

To prevent your loved one from falling victim to potential abuse and neglect, make sure to conduct thorough research into the facilities you have selected to provide care. Be sure to check websites that give reviews as well as rate the care for nursing homes.

If you believe that yourself or a loved one has been the victim of abuse or neglect while residing in a nursing home, contact the law offices of Schenk Smith. Our attorneys will work to get you the compensation you deserve. Contact us today.