Nursing home understaffing can lead to neglect

When people think of nursing home neglect, they often think that the staff members are simply not working hard enough or not performing the duties that they should. For example, they imagine a situation in which a resident pulls the alert cord to ask for assistance, but the staff workers who hear the alarm simply don’t care to respond promptly. They put it off, and it makes the situation worse.

Something like this can certainly happen, and it can be a problem. But one thing to keep in mind is that most nursing homes are understaffed. A much more accurate portrayal of the situation could be that the alarm is ringing in an empty office, where no one hears it because the one or two staff members who are working are busy hurrying from room to room and trying to provide aid to as many residents as possible.

Whose fault is it?

On one hand, you may be glad that the staff workers aren’t intentionally neglecting your loved one. But on the other hand, the fact that your loved one cannot get prompt care is still a form of neglect and could have very serious ramifications.

What you may find is that the fault lies with the owner and operator of the nursing home rather than with the staff members. If the understaffing is known and no steps have been taken to correct it, especially if the owner is simply trying to cut staffing costs, then they may be exposing your loved one to an undue level of risk. If you do find yourself in this situation, be sure you know what legal steps to take.

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