Nursing homes need plenty of staff members to provide the compassionate care that elderly and disabled residents need.
Unfortunately, many of Ohio’s nursing homes are woefully understaffed. That’s a situation that could leave hundreds of residents with inadequate care on a daily basis.
According to a recent report, out of 56 nursing homes in central Ohio, at least 22 had too few staff members. Other areas of Ohio also reported staffing problems in their nursing care facilities — with weekends being a particularly difficult time to staff the buildings.
A change in the way that nursing care facilities are required to report their staff numbers to the government has revealed a major staffing problem in the nation’s nursing homes. Prior to the changes in regulations, nursing homes sometimes played the system and scheduled extra staff on days that were used during their inspection process. Now, nursing facilities are required to use daily staffing figures and back them up with payroll data to avoid cheating.
Nearly 70 percent of the country’s nursing facilities showed a sharp decrease in staffing after the changes in accounting were mandated — meaning that there never were as many aides and nurses around as many people believed. It’s exposed a situation that’s only likely to get worse, thanks to America’s aging population.
Advocates who work with the elderly and disabled say that inadequate staff is a huge underlying factor in many complaints of neglect or abuse. Overworked staff members aren’t able to manage all the requests for assistance they get during a single shift. Frustrated residents sometimes try to manage on their own, with disastrous results. Preventable falls can easily happen when patient’s with mobility problems don’t get the right assistance. Mistakes also get made when the staff is overworked. Personal hygiene care gets overlooked, and medication errors can happen.
Experts also say that the culprits behind the staffing issue are clear: lousy pay and hard work. Employers aren’t doing enough to make the job attractive, so aides and nurses are going elsewhere for work.
If you or a loved one falls victim to nursing home neglect because of inadequate staffing, it may be possible to recover from the financial impact of your injuries with the help of an attorney.