Medical Malpractice: Inadequate Staffing in Nursing Homes
For many people, the decision to put a loved one in a nursing home is one of the most difficult decisions they’ll ever make. They want their loved one to get the best care possible, but trying to find a nursing home they can trust to provide that level of care isn’t easy.
About 1.4 million people in the United States receive care in nursing homes and each of those people has varying needs for care. But regardless of why a person goes into a nursing home, one thing they all have in common is that they need the assistance of nurses throughout the day, whether it’s to help with getting dressed, to administer medication, for assistance moving around, or to work with things like feeding tubes and respirators.
For nurses to be able to do their jobs well, they need to be able to spend an appropriate amount of time with each patient. Unfortunately, far too many nursing homes around the country struggle with low staffing levels, putting patients in jeopardy. Nursing is a very demanding job and when nursing homes are understaffed, nurses have less time to spend with each of their patients and they often become overworked and burnt out, making it much more likely that mistakes will be made.
Understaffed nursing homes can take a toll on patients in many different ways. If a patient has a history of wandering away, there’s a chance they could get hurt if nursing home staff isn’t attentive enough to stop them. If a patient who has difficulty walking feels like they’ve been waiting too long for help with something, they might fall by trying to get up and find someone. Nurses could make mistakes with medication, either giving someone an incorrect dosage or the wrong medication all together. If patients with mobility issues aren’t moved regularly enough, they could develop bedsores. These are just a very few examples of the problems inadequate staffing can cause.
In a 2018 analysis of federal data, the numbers showed that 7 in 10 nursing homes had inadequate staffing levels, based on payroll records of 14,000 nursing homes. Since 2014, 1 in 8 nursing homes have been cited by health inspectors for having too few nurses on staff.
As the numbers show, inadequate staffing in nursing homes is a very widespread problem and it’s a problem that needs to be taken very seriously. If you have a loved one who was injured or even died while in the care of a nursing home and you think it could have been prevented, contact a personal injury lawyer as soon as possible. In a situation like this, it’s only natural to have a lot of questions and talking to a lawyer will help you get the answers you need. At Goodwin & Scieszka, we have attorneys who are experienced in handling medical malpractice cases related to inadequate staffing. Contact us today for help.