Articles Posted in Staff Shortages

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.

The arrival of the Covid-19 pandemic has combined with other economic factors to cause an employment shortage in hundreds of industries worldwide. Healthcare is most likely the hardest-hit industry by Covid-19 related staffing shortages. Within the healthcare industry, nursing homes and long-term elder-care facilities suffer from some of the worst staffing shortages on record. Understaffed nursing homes and long-term care facilities result in increased instances of abuse, neglect, and even sometimes-fatal medical malpractice. In an effort to address the chronic nationwide staffing shortages in nursing homes, the U.S. Federal Government has announced plans to enforce national minimum staffing guidelines for nursing homes and other similarly situated facilities.

According to a recently aired national public radio broadcast, the staffing shortages at several nursing homes have become a dangerous problem. The increased risks and workloads presented by the pandemic have made nursing home jobs less desirable. Employers nationwide, including nursing home administrators, are reluctant to increase employee compensation out of a fear that paying more will cut into the companies’ profits. In response to the shortages, the Biden administration has initiated plans to use the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services to implement minimum staffing requirements to ensure that the staff is adequate to ensure quality. According to the report, the changes should go into effect within a year.

How Does the Nursing Home Staffing Shortage Impact Residents?

Nursing home residents and their families have the right to adequate care that meets industry standards for such care. The staffing shortages over the last two years have resulted in increasing instances of concern in nursing homes nationwide. Observers have noted increases in bedsores, excessive weight loss, high rates of Covid-19 infection, as well as widespread overprescription of antipsychotic medications to control resident behavior. Residents who have received these types of substandard care, or suffered other acts of neglect, abuse, or malpractice, may be entitled to financial damages for their loss and suffering. A qualified Maryland, D.C., and Virginia area medical malpractice attorney can help victims pursue a case for damages.

If you have decided to send your loved one to a Maryland nursing home in the near future or have already done so, then you understand the difficulty of making such a decision. Conducting thorough research into the options near you and ensuring that your loved ones are receiving quality care at the facility you choose can be really stressful—especially if there is no information available for you to reference to make an informed decision.

According to a recent report, the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) announced that it would begin to report weekend staffing and staff turnover for nursing homes with greater transparency. Information on weekend staffing, such as the numbers of registered nurses and the total number of nurses in general working on the weekends at each nursing home over a quarter will be publicly available on a website. Details about total nurse turnover, the percentage of nursing staff that stopped working at a nursing home, and the number of administrators who stopped working at a nursing home over a 12 month period will also be made available.

For consumers, this data will be important for a number of reasons. First, having access to a nursing home’s staffing environment can be important for determining the quality of care your loved ones will receive. At facilities with low turnover rates, for example, it is more likely that the quality of care will be higher, and the overall residential experience will be better. Low turnover rates in nursing homes are also typically correlated to higher nursing home ratings.

All over the country, it seems every business has a “help wanted” sign posted. From restaurants to movie theaters to grocery stores, the COVID-19 global pandemic has left businesses of all types and sizes short-staffed.

Unfortunately, nursing home facilities have been no exception to this issue. Many nursing home workers and certified nursing assistants have reported feeling burnt out and exhausted, resulting in a mass exodus of departures from long-term care facilities around the country. In light of staffing shortages, however, who will take care of our elderly and most vulnerable?

According to a recent news report, an ambitious new initiative is training National Guard service members to become certified nursing assistants in their latest deployment at a large nursing home facility. The facility was hobbled by a major exodus of employees because of the COVID-19 pandemic, which resulted in the nursing home shutting down entire wings of the facility. As a result, neighboring hospitals have been able to send new patients to long-term care centers like this nursing home, which is already stretched thin because of its lack of staff.

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