Unfortunately, nursing home neglect is all too common. In many cases of neglect, the nursing home fails to hire and train sufficient numbers of staff to care for its residents. Too often, nursing homes focus on profit, accepting more residents without increasing staff to provide adequate care to each resident. Even the most dedicated nursing home staff may be overwhelmed by the number of residents they are tasked with assisting.
According to a recent news article, a nursing home is under investigation by the Connecticut Department of Public Health for severe neglect and staffing shortages. In its inspection report, the Department found that residents were left in their beds for hours at a time without trips to the bathroom or diaper changes, and they received food late. As a result, several residents suffered from skin ulcers and urine-soaked diapers. Other residents reported that they often did not receive care at all. The lack of adequate care stemmed, in part, from significant nurse’s aide shortages. For example, one nurse’s aide told inspectors she only saw 12 of her 18 patients nearly four hours into her shift. The Department’s report identified the ratio of residents to nurse’s aides as 18:1. As a result of the investigation, the health department recommend civil monetary penalties and ordered the nursing home to correct its various issues.
What Are the Consequences of Nursing Home Staffing Shortages?
Unfortunately, shortages of trained staff in nursing homes can have especially poor effects on residents’ well-being. For example, according to the same news article above, another facility within the same parent company admitted patients struggling with substance abuse without hiring the proper staff to care for them. As a result, at least twelve residents overdosed. This egregious wrong led the Massachusetts Attorney General to fine the nursing home’s parent company $1.75 million for neglect. In other cases, staffing shortages can lead to delays in care that carry serious consequences. For example, if a nursing home lacks sufficient staff to move residents from their beds every few hours, the residents may suffer from bed sores or ulcers. Similarly, a delay in bathing schedules or trips to the bathroom could leave residents with unclean diapers for hours at a time. As the news article reported, these delays could lead to urinary tract infections and other health conditions. If you suspect a nursing home is not providing adequate care to your loved one, you may decide to sue the nursing home for negligence.