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Can understaffed nursing homes create health risks?

On Behalf of | Jun 26, 2019 | Wrongful Death

Nursing homes are supposed to be safe and caring residences for New Jersey seniors who are too infirm to take care of themselves. Unfortunately, this is not always the case. Sometimes an elderly resident passes away due to neglect or errors in care committed by a nursing home. One of the problems is that some nursing homes do not employ enough staff to take care of residents, which can cause a number of serious health risks.

U.S. News and World Report explains that when nursing homes are stretched then, the few caregivers that are on staff have to deal with more issues than they can handle. This can lead to some staffers cutting corners or looking for short and easy ways to handle difficult residents. For example, some seniors suffer from dementia and may act out, not knowing where they are or their current situation. Overburdened staffers might use medication to pacify them in place of more proper care techniques.

Another problem is handling the potential for infections that may crop up in nursing homes. If residents do not maintain proper hygiene, it is possible for dangerous infections to break out. Also, bathrooms and shower rooms may produce molds and mildews that can produce health problems. Nursing homes should have someone on staff who understands the potential for infections and will institute procedures, including regular hand washings for staffers and residents, to combat the spread of harmful pathogens.

A lack of staffers can also be a problem when a resident needs help. Some seniors require assistance to get out of bed or to use the toilet, and will use a notification button to summon a staffer. However, a staff that is spread thin may delay assisting residents. This can be a major problem for seniors who are kept in bed for too long, since prolonged time in bed can lead to infections or bedsores. Care delay can also lead a senior to try and get around on his or her own and possibly lead to a fall.

Making sure a nursing home is properly staffed with caring and qualified individuals can help you feel better about sending your elderly loved one there to live. In the tragic event your relative passes away because of the neglect of a nursing home, you may have a wrongful death case. Since nursing home issues take many forms, do not consider this article as legal advice. Read it only for informative purposes.