Injuries Caused by Nursing Home Understaffing
Nursing homes in Illinois are struggling to meet the needs of their residents due to understaffing. The issue of understaffing in nursing homes is not new, but the COVID-19 pandemic and subsequent labor shortage have exacerbated it. This has left many residents without the necessary care they need leading to serious injuries and even deaths.
The Noll Law Office is committed to fighting nursing home abuse and neglect throughout Illinois. They investigate cases and hold nursing homes responsible when residents are injured due to understaffing, as well as other forms of nursing home abuse and neglect. They understand this topic’s importance and want to ensure that families are informed and prepared to protect their loved ones.
The Noll Law Office urges anyone who suspects their loved ones may have suffered abuse or neglect due to nursing home understaffing to contact them for a free consultation. They do not take a fee unless they successfully obtain a settlement or jury verdict. Let them fight for the justice and compensation that your family deserves. Located in Springfield, Illinois, the nursing home abuse and neglect lawyers at the Noll Law Office represent clients throughout the State of Illinois. They can be reached at (217) 414-8889.
What Are the Effects of Understaffing in Illinois Nursing Homes?
When a nursing home is understaffed, it’s not just a matter of inconvenience or discomfort for residents. Understaffing can seriously affect their health and well-being. A study by the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services found that facilities with higher averages of care by Registered Nurses (RN) per day have higher overall staffing and health inspection ratings and fewer instances of abuse. Unfortunately, 65.7% of nursing homes in the United States provide less than the recommended .75 hours of RN care per resident per day.
Common Injuries Due to Nursing Home Understaffing
While every case is different, here are some of the most common injuries and issues due to understaffing at Illinois nursing homes:
- Falls: Falls can become a common occurrence without staff members to assist residents with mobility. This can result in fractures, head trauma, and bruising.
- Malnutrition: When there aren’t enough staff members to help residents with meals, they may not get the nutrition they need to stay healthy. This can lead to weight loss, weakness, and other health issues.
- Bedsores: When residents are unable to move or turn themselves due to lack of assistance, they may develop painful and dangerous pressure ulcers, also known as bedsores. These can become infected and even lead to sepsis if not properly treated, which can be life-threatening.
- Dehydration: Like malnutrition, dehydration can occur when residents don’t have enough help with drinking fluids. This can lead to dizziness, confusion, and other serious health problems.
- Depression: When residents don’t receive enough social interaction and stimulation, they may become withdrawn and depressed. This can have a negative impact on their mental health and quality of life.
- Social isolation: Understaffed nursing homes may need more resources to provide residents with opportunities for socializing and engaging with others. This can lead to feelings of loneliness and isolation.
Unfortunately, these injuries and issues are not just theoretical; they are very real for many nursing home residents.
Reasons for Understaffing in Nursing Homes
There are many reasons why nursing homes may need more staffing. While some facilities may be struggling financially, other factors may include poor working conditions, difficulty with recruitment and retention, and a lack of government regulation and enforcement. Here are some of the most common reasons for understaffing in nursing homes:
- Cost-cutting measures: Nursing homes may be under pressure to reduce costs, and staffing may be one of the areas where they try to cut corners.
- Low wages and poor working conditions: Nursing home staff may need to receive the compensation, benefits, or conditions they need to feel supported and motivated to stay in their jobs. The median annual income for a CNA in a nursing home is $30,310. Many staff members rely on public assistance and do not have health insurance.
- High workloads: When nursing home staff are responsible for too many residents at once, it can be difficult to provide the high-quality care that residents need. This can lead to staff burnout, fatigue, and turnover.
- Difficulty with recruitment and retention: Nursing homes may need help finding qualified staff members willing to work in these environments. Also, high turnover rates may make it difficult to maintain a consistent staffing level.
- Lack of government regulation and enforcement: Some experts argue that there needs to be more oversight and regulation of nursing homes to ensure that they meet minimum staffing requirements and provide high-quality care to residents.
How to Choose a Nursing Home with Adequate Staffing?
When choosing a nursing home for a loved one, staffing is one of the most critical factors. As discussed in the previous section, understaffing in nursing homes can have severe consequences for residents, including physical and emotional injuries. Therefore, it’s crucial to understand both federal and state staffing requirements and how to choose a nursing home that meets those requirements.
What Does Illinois Law Require for Staffing Levels at Nursing Homes?
Illinois state law requires that nursing home staffing must be based on the needs of the residents. At a minimum, there must be one licensed nurse in charge during each shift who is not the Director of Nursing or Assistant Director of Nursing. The nursing home must ensure that direct care staff are available for 2.5 hours per resident each day, with 40% of those hours occurring during the day shift, 25% during the evening shift, and 15% during the night shift. Residents who require intermediate care must receive at least 1.7 hours of nursing/personal care per day, and at least 20% of this time must be provided by a licensed nurse.
What are the Staffing Levels Required by Federal Law?
Federal law requires Medicare and Medicaid-certified nursing homes to provide 24-hour licensed nursing services to meet their residents’ nursing needs. These nursing homes must use the services of a registered professional nurse for at least eight consecutive hours a day, seven days a week.
However, many experts agree that federal and state minimums are inadequate. The Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) has launched a multifaceted approach to determine the minimum level and type of staffing needed to enable safe, quality care in nursing homes.
Tips to Find an Illinois Nursing Home with Adequate Staffing Levels
It’s important to do your due diligence and choose a nursing home with adequate staffing levels. Here are some tips to help you make an informed decision:
- Research staffing levels and turnover rates. Look for nursing homes that meet or exceed the minimum staffing requirements and have low staff turnover rates.
- Visit the nursing home and observe staff interactions with residents. Take note of how staff members interact with each other and with residents. Do they seem stressed or overworked? Do they take the time to listen to residents and respond to their needs?
- Check inspection reports and resident satisfaction surveys. These reports can give you an idea of the nursing home’s overall quality of care, staffing levels, and turnover rates.
- Ask about staff training and education. Choose a nursing home that invests in its staff and provides ongoing training and education.
- Look for a nursing home with a strong leadership team. Good leadership can help create a positive work environment and reduce staff turnover.
Choosing a nursing home with adequate staffing levels can help ensure your loved one receives the quality care they deserve. The Illinois Department of Health has a useful checklist when visiting nursing homes.
Noll Law Office – Protecting Your Loved Ones in Nursing Homes
When it comes to nursing home care, adequate staffing is crucial. As we have seen, understaffing can result in serious injuries and fatalities for nursing home residents. It is important to recognize the signs of understaffing and take action to protect your loved ones in nursing homes.
At the Noll Law Office, they understand the devastating impact of nursing home abuse caused by understaffing. Their law firm is dedicated to helping families seek justice and hold nursing homes accountable for their negligence. If you suspect your loved one was injured due to understaffing issues at a nursing home in Illinois, the experienced attorneys at the Noll Law Office can assist in pursuing a legal claim to recover damages. Call them today for a FREE consultation at (217) 414-8889.