Providing care for the elderly is a demanding, low-paying and difficult job. Nursing home care has a high turnover rate because staff members simply burn out or they find higher-paying positions at other locations. Care facilities often have difficulty hiring enough employees with the necessary qualifications. The fact that staffing is difficult is still no excuse for providing inadequate care.
When a nursing home is inadequately staffed, the consequences can be devastating. For example:
- If the staffing is insufficient, patients suffer. They receive poor care and attention. Patients who are immobile may not be moved frequently enough, causing bedsores or pressure sores. Others may suffer from the effects of malnutrition or dehydration.
- Improperly trained or inexperienced staff members who do not understand interactions of particular drugs could cause serious harm to patients. If drugs are not dispensed at the right dosage and at proper intervals, medication errors can cause aggravation of preexisting conditions, prolonged infections and even death.
- Failure to call references or perform background checks may allow unqualified or dangerous people to be responsible for providing care to the facility’s residents. Patients in nursing homes, board and care facilities and long-term facilities suffer physical abuse at the hands of their caregivers with alarming frequency.
- Communication and language barriers that could have been overcome by having dedicated staff members assigned to familiar patients can result in myriad issues.
Facilities may be routinely understaffed, or they may rely on temporary staffing services to fulfill immediate needs and comply with state-mandated standards, without offering adequate training or supervision.