Nursing Home Abuse Lawyer in Springfield Explains How Can Understaffing Lead to Nursing Home Negligence in Illinois
One of the most common issues with nursing homes, long-term care centers, and other facilities is understaffing. According to statistics from the American Health Care Association and National Center for Assisted Living (AHCA/NCAL), 94% of nursing homes reported a shortage of staff which has only increased in recent years. Although one study indicates that the pandemic caused by COVID-19 contributed to this shortage, another study suggested that the pandemic only exacerbated an already growing problem that nursing homes were having staffing issues. For many facilities, understaffing is not just a scheduling issue but also a safety issue. Indeed, at the Noll Law Office, their experienced nursing home abuse lawyer in Springfield knows how can understaffing lead to nursing home negligence in Illinois.
Unfortunately, that negligence can also lead to serious personal injuries or the wrongful death of an innocent resident That’s because approximately 33% of nursing homes fall below the federal government’s minimum guidelines, which can leave residents vulnerable and waiting for long periods of time for help. As a result, some residents who are a fall risk may need to get up themselves to use the bathroom or get out of a wheelchair. Other residents may be left without important medications or treatments. If a loved one was injured in a nursing home or long-term care facility anywhere in Illinois, contact the Noll Law Office at (217) 414-8889 to schedule a FREE consultation to learn how their nursing home abuse lawyers in Springfield can help you.
What is Understaffing in a Nursing Home?
Generally speaking, understaffing in a nursing home is simply not having an adequate number of the necessary staff members to treat residents. Although there are set federal and state guidelines that establish a particular number of staff members who are required to be at a nursing home, just meeting that number may not be enough. Therefore, a facility could still satisfy this threshold but still be understaffed.
That’s because the key point to having adequate staffing is that the staff at the facility must be those who are qualified to treat residents with certain needs. For example, if there is a high number of residents who need registered nurses but the facility is using certified nurse assistants of healthcare techs, and has technically enough staff members per resident, that is going to still constitute understaffing because there is an inadequate number of necessary staff members to handle the needs of the residents. Said differently, a facility cannot hire non-qualified staff to meet the staffing requirements.
In fact, even where staff members are qualified to treat a certain type of resident if that staff member is not trained on how to provide that care, it could still be an understaffing issue. For example, having a registered nurse who does not have a critical care certificate or a respiratory certificate cannot treat residents who require that level of care. This can result in not just an understaffing issue, but also a hiring and training issue.
Therefore, the complexities of understaffing a nursing home facility can be difficult for residents and their families to review and decide. In fact, it can also be difficult for some personal injury lawyers. Due to this, victims of nursing home abuse and neglect should always contact an experienced nursing home abuse lawyer in Springfield who advertises for nursing home cases specifically understaffing cases, like the Noll Law Office.
How Can Understaffing Lead to Nursing Home Negligence in Illinois?
When families have to make the difficult decision to place a loved one in a nursing home because they can no longer provide the necessary level of care for their loved one at home, they do so because a facility has the adequate staff and ability to do so. However, understaffing at a nursing home can literally strike against that and leave residents vulnerable and in danger. In fact, some residents may have even been better off staying at home with family, as some horror stories of residents being neglected for hours usually lead to serious injuries or wrongful death.
Some of the most common ways understaffing can lead to nursing home abuse in Illinois include the following:
- Falls because residents have to get up after waiting for too long for help due to understaffing
- Dropped residents because they need a two- or three-person lift, but only one staff member is available
- Untrained staff members are performing a higher level of care than they have been trained to handle
- Bedsore checks, which can take some time to do properly, just do not happen and cause serious injuries or wrongful death to residents
- Breathing tubes are not properly cleaned as often as they need to be
- Wound care is not done as often as needed to prevent infections
- Medication errors occur because the staff is rushing
- Defects and hazards on the floor are not cleaned up, such as spills, which can create an extreme fall risk for residents who may already be a fall risk
- Hygiene is often rushed through, such as brushing teeth, washing faces, and taking a bath or shower
- Residents are left in wheelchairs, beds, on toilets, or even in showers or bathtubs for much longer than they should be
- In the event of an emergency (such as a fall or a choking incident), there is less staff to assist and, when the staff is assisting, other residents are not getting the services that they need
- Dehydration and malnutrition cause damage to residents
- With limited staff, there could be an increase in nursing home abuse because wrongdoers have less supervision and are more likely to get away with it, and
- Other common causes of serious personal injuries or wrongful death to nursing home residents in Illinois due to understaffing.
Was a Loved One Injured in a Nursing Home? Learn How Can Understaffing Lead to Nursing Home Negligence in Springfield from the Noll Law Office in Springfield
Anytime you or a loved one were injured in a nursing home, ask a nursing home abuse lawyer in Springfield whether understaffing may have caused or contributed to the damages caused. Although there may be an obvious cause like a fall, medication error, or another reckless error in treatment, oftentimes understaffing plays a role in that and is a much larger issue. Therefore, after an injury in a nursing home, victims and their families should call the Noll Law Office to learn more about their rights under Illinois law. To get started, contact them today to schedule your FREE consultation and case evaluation.