Help wanted signs are everywhere these days. While staffing shortages at stores, restaurants, entertainment venues and many other places are inconvenient, a lack of qualified health care professionals in nursing homes is often a matter of life and death.
A recent study from AARP revealed roughly 30% of U.S. nursing homes do not have enough nurses and assistance to provide appropriate care to residents. Still, for these facilities to receive Medicaid and Medicare payments, they have a legal obligation both to provide specific services and to meet basic standards.
Does a facility have a staffing shortage?
Before moving an elderly relative into a nursing home, it is critical to research the facility and make a few site visits. When performing this due diligence, you must watch for signs of staffing shortages. You may find valuable information by checking Medicare’s rating for each facility. Furthermore, during your visits, you also should see if nurses and assistants are actively working throughout the nursing home.
Why are staffing shortages a problem?
While some nursing home residents only require minimal supervision, many others need round-the-clock care. Even if a facility has competent and caring nurses, providing care to nursing home residents is not a one- or two-person job. If the nursing home does not have enough nurses, resident care is likely to suffer.
How can you protect your loved one?
If your loved one lives in a nursing home, you may not recognize the seriousness of subpar care. Nevertheless, neglect can lead to life-threatening complications quickly. Therefore, if the nursing home has staffing shortages, you must pay close attention to your relative’s psychological, emotional and physical health.
Ultimately, if your relative suffers serious harm or dies due to neglect in the nursing home, you may have a valid legal cause of action against the facility.