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The Link Between Nursing Home Understaffing and Abuse

Nursing home understaffing has long been a problem that contributes to poor quality of care for nursing home residents. When nursing home staff members are responsible for too many patients, they can be neglectful of patients and fail to give them the care that they need on a routine basis. Likewise, the stress and pressure to care for too many patients can result in abusive actions by staff members out of sheer frustration. Some data indicates that as many as 90% of all nursing homes are understaffed, which results in too many incidents of abuse and neglect in the nursing home system.

The main reason behind understaffing of nursing home is cost. Since the labor costs of operating a nursing home are high, nursing homes try to compensate for these high costs by stretching existing staff well beyond capacity. Nursing facilities also may struggle to attract and retain qualified medical professionals, particularly in more rural areas. As nursing homes tend to involve high-stress, difficult work, many nurses and CNAs may prefer to work in hospitals or other types of medical facilities.

As a result of constant understaffing, nursing home staff can be pushed to the point of exhaustion, which makes potential mistakes much more likely. An inability to care for a large number of patients also can cause nurses to overlook subtle changes in condition and mood that might point to a larger medical problem in a patient. Rather than being able to confront the condition early on, the failure to notice small changes can be disastrous for a patient’s help. Overworked nurses also have no time to pay attention to details, which can also result in mistakes.

Patients who are largely immobile or need significant and continual medical attention are at the greatest risk of abuse or neglect due to the understaffing of nursing home facilities. If a patient needs assistance to perform even the most basic of activities of daily living, including using the bathroom and eating, then he or she becomes totally reliant on his or her caregivers.

If your loved one has suffered abuse or neglect at the hands of a caretaker, whether in a home health care setting, nursing home, or other healthcare facility, you may have a valid personal injury claim. This type of situation makes it essential to contact an experienced Wisconsin neglect and abuse attorney in order to protect your rights and obtain the financial relief that you deserve. Certain individuals have an obligation under the law to report suspected abuse or neglect of an elderly individual or nursing home or other facility resident. Those who fail to do so must face the consequences of their actions. Hold negligent Wisconsin care providers responsible for their actions. Contact Boller & Vaughan today and learn how we can help you.