CHICAGO NURSING HOME NEGLIGENCE LAWYERS
Nursing Home Understaffing
Caring for an elder relative can be an exhausting and emotional situation. At some point, we have to ask professionals to step in. A qualified nursing facility can help provide all the care and attention needed for our elderly family members, but sometimes things can go wrong.
An understaffed nursing home cannot safely provide for its residents. Elder neglect and abuse are serious problems in this country, especially as the shortage of healthcare workers gets worse. Inadequate nursing staff can lead to severe injuries for your already vulnerable family member. At Curcio Law Offices, our dedicated nursing home abuse and neglect attorneys can help you and your family. We can help you explore your legal options if you believe a family member has suffered from nursing home understaffing. Call us today for a free consultation at (312) 321-1111.
Staffing Problems in Assisted Living Facilities
According to a recent study, most U.S. nursing homes (87%) are moderately to highly understaffed. But why are nursing homes understaffed? The answer is a complicated one. Nurses and certified nursing assistants are trained to provide quality care to older adults. Becoming a registered nurse (RN), a certified nursing assistant (CNA), or a licensed practical nurse (LPN) takes time and dedication. Long hours and poor benefits will cause nursing home staff members to pursue better jobs elsewhere. These staffing issues can lead to severe consequences in long-term care facilities.
Consequences of Understaffing
When a nursing home facility is understaffed, the residents are not the only ones who suffer. Short-staffed facilities often have overworked and overwhelmed employees trying to take care of the residents as best they can.
Consequences For Residents and Their Families
In a nursing home, residents rely on properly trained staff members to take care of their basic needs and well-being. Without the required amount of registered nurses on staff, professional medical advice has a risk of being ignored by improperly trained staff members. Understaffed facilities are at risk of significantly more mistakes than properly staffed homes. In severe cases, overworked staff members can also take out their frustration on residents through verbal or physical abuse.
Consequences For Nursing Home Staff
Inadequate staffing can lead to overworked and underpaid staff members. Nursing homes have been found to pad their staffing numbers by reporting administrative staff that don’t interact with nursing home residents. This puts even more of a burden on the staff members and can lead to employee burnout. Overtime pay may be a small perk, but overtime can also cause a lot more stress and lead to mistakes.
What is Nursing Home Neglect?
Nursing home residents are often completely dependent on caregivers. A nursing home resident relies on competent staff members for their emotional, medical, and physical well-being. When these needs aren’t met, the residents and their families suffer.
Emotional and mental health are just as important as physical health. Understaffed facilities cannot dedicate the care and attention that every resident needs. A nursing home facility can be a lonely place, and this feeling is worsened when caregivers can’t give every resident what they need. Staff members can also prevent residents from interacting with each other, leading to emotional or social neglect. Patients with mobility issues are dependent upon wheelchairs, canes, or walkers to get around in the facility. Overworked staff members can isolate residents by not giving them what they need to be mobile.
When nursing home facilities are understaffed, resident issues can slip through the cracks, so to speak. Vulnerable residents who have existing health problems may not get the attention they need. Patients with severe mobility issues are at a higher risk of bedsores, so they need to be moved regularly. Poorly trained staff may not understand the importance of administering medications at regular intervals. Medical neglect can also happen when caregivers don’t provide medical care when there are signs of illness or infection.
Physical neglect includes personal hygiene and basic comfort for the residents. Maintaining clean facilities and bathing the residents is an important part of proper care. Failure to change a resident’s clothes after they soil themselves can lead to severe infections and a significant decline in health. Providing the residents with unsafe food and water can cause significant health problems as well.
Neglect vs. Abuse
Abuse and neglect are very closely linked, but some key differences set them apart. Negligence can be thought of as a passive form of abuse. Lack of adequate care can lead to bedsores and nursing home falls, which can cause major injuries to an elderly relative. The staff may not have pushed your family member down, but they had a hand in the injuries nonetheless.
In most cases, abuse is a more active behavior. Nursing home staff may take out their anger verbally or physically against the resident. Nursing home neglect and abuse can cause major trauma to residents in facilities that are supposed to care for them. If you or a loved one is suffering at the hands of a nursing home employee, a Chicago nursing home negligence attorney from Curcio Law Offices can help.
Signs of Nursing Home Neglect
Some of the signs of nursing home neglect and abuse aren’t as visible as a bruise or a broken bone. Report nursing home neglect as soon as you notice any of the following signs:
- Poor hygiene
- Sexually transmitted disease or infection
- Urinary tract infections
- Sudden changes in mood (more withdrawn, frequent crying episodes)
- Fear of staff members
Unexplained injuries can be a major red flag when it comes to nursing home residents. This is especially true for the residents that have cognitive issues like Alzheimer’s or dementia. Unfortunately, neglect isn’t always easy to see. If you believe a family member is being neglected by staff members in their care facility, you need the help of an experienced nursing home neglect attorney.
Is Nursing Home Understaffing Illegal?
Understaffing may not directly be illegal, but it can definitely lead to crimes like elder abuse and neglect. Nursing homes are responsible for providing adequate care for their elderly residents. Any violation can result in serious consequences.
How an Experienced Nursing Home Neglect Lawyer Can Help
As a law firm that focuses on personal injury, the nursing home abuse attorneys at Curcio Law Offices are uniquely qualified to pursue nursing home negligence cases. Nursing home abuse and neglect cases can be difficult to prove. A trusted law firm can help you prove your case by establishing liability and proving negligence. We can fight to get the compensation you and your family deserve.
In a nursing home neglect case, your personal injury attorney will determine who is liable for the poor treatment. Nursing home employees and nursing home management are the main focus in these cases. In understaffed nursing homes, the management team is more likely to be responsible than the nursing home workers. The nursing home staff members may do their best to provide quality care. Unfortunately, nursing home owners or management can make poor staffing decisions. This can lead to overworked or poorly trained staff.
As with any personal injury claim, you and your legal team must prove the 4 D’s of negligence.
You must establish that there was a duty of care, a breach of that duty due to negligence, an injury caused by the negligence, and damages due to the injury. This can be seen as a domino effect.
When you put an elderly family member in a nursing facility, you pay lots of money every month to make sure they receive quality care. Understaffed nursing homes cannot provide the quality care needed, which is a breach of duty. This can lead to untrained staff members administering incorrect medication or incorrect dosages. Medication errors can cause severe complications and even death.
Financial compensation won’t change what happened, but it can help end the neglect and help you and your family get justice. At Curcio Law Offices, we pursue the following compensation in nursing home neglect and abuse cases:
- Medical treatment
- Pain and suffering
- Mental anguish
- Loss of enjoyment in life
- And more