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The Effects of Understaffing in Nursing Homes
caregiver yelling at elderly woman in nursing home

Pennsylvania’s nursing homes are notoriously understaffed, and the lack of skilled workers to care for some of the commonwealth’s most vulnerable people is cause for alarm. State regulations require that each nursing home resident be given at least 2.7 hours of care each day, but many times there is simply not enough staff available to meet that threshold. When a relative or loved one experiences harm due to nursing home understaffing, an injury attorney in Reading PA may be able to help.

Staffing Issues and Consequences for Residents

In the absence of sufficient nursing home staff, including both nurses and certified nurse aides, residents can suffer physically, mentally, and socially. Adequate staff is necessary to ensure that residents are safe, content, and have a high quality of life. Shortages in staffing can:

  • Result in the neglect of residents who require help with eating, bathing, grooming, and managing their medications.
  • Lead to the development of infections and bedsores.
  • Cause patients to remain immobile for long periods of time, leading to muscle atrophy and skin problems.
  • Directly impact the rate of resident falls, trips to the emergency room, and hospital stays.

Understaffing Effects on Caregivers

Residents aren’t the only ones who suffer the brunt of negative outcomes from understaffing — other caregivers do too. The increased workload can cause excess stress, which leads to worker burnout, increased physical wear and tear on the body, and job dissatisfaction. Unfortunately, underpaid and overwhelmed staff who are under added stress are more likely to neglect or even abuse residents.

Holding Nursing Homes Accountable for Low Staffing

Issues with low staffing have been in the spotlight in Pennsylvania since 2016 when the state’s auditor general noted that the Department of Health was failing to respond properly to complaints about or hold nursing homes accountable for their staffing insufficiencies. This problem appears to be going nowhere soon, and the 2020 pandemic served to exacerbate the issue even more. Luckily, families can seek accountability when nursing homes fail to live up to staffing regulations.

Standing Up For Your Loved One’s Rights

Staff shortages can lead to medication errors, resident neglect and injury, worsening of illnesses and diseases, psychological issues, and wrongful death. No one should have to worry about abuse and neglect during their golden years. If your loved one has experienced the negative effects of nursing home short staffing, reach out to Kozloff Stoudt for a consultation with a compassionate nursing home neglect attorney in Berks County.

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