Nursing home neglect might be due to lack of staffing

For Missouri families that place their elderly or ill loved one in a nursing home, there is an inevitable concern that the treatment will not be sufficient to provide them proper care. Often, that worry stems from the possibility that nursing home abuse or neglect will take place. One issue that is rarely considered is that the facility itself will not be adequately staffed. The failure to have enough people to care for the residents can cause major problems with their health and well-being.

It is coming to light that most nursing homes do not have the number of staff they purported to have. This can lead to residents not being watched and not provided with their medication and the care they need to remain safe and healthy. Federal statistics show that nursing homes have not had the number of staff that it was reporting to the federal government. There were inconsistencies in the workers who were at these facilities day to day. For days that were considered the worst, people were taking care of close to twice as many people as they were when the staff was at its maximum.

Kaiser Health News analyzed the data by using statistics from more than 14,000 facilities. Medicare had gathered and published the payroll information from these facilities as was made necessary when the Affordable Care Act became law in 2010. Before that, Medicare used unverified information provided by the nursing homes. In the past 10 years, the rating system used by the government was based on awarding up to five stars. The staffing information did not indicate when there were short staffs.

Residents have stories about being unable to find staff to assist them when it is needed, particularly on weekends. Close to 1.4 million people receive care in nursing homes, and when the staff is not sufficient, people might not get the care they needed. A specific problem is bedsores. There is no legal requirement regarding how many staff members should be working, there is the requirement that a registered nurse be on duty eight hours a day and a licensed nurse 24/7.

An investigation is key to determine the cause of injury, illness or death in a nursing home and a law firm that is experienced in nursing home neglect can help. When a family member has been injured or became ill because of a lack of care or nursing home abuse, it is important to find out why. One factor that might not have been considered is that there was not full staffing to provide care.