One of the biggest problems that affects nursing homes in the U.S. is chronic understaffing. There simply are not enough people on staff to provide the level of care that the residents need. This means that response times to call signals are slower, accidents are more likely to happen and residents are more likely to be neglected.
Why does this happen? It is certainly a warning sign that you want to look out for when choosing a nursing home for your loved one, and something to consider if they’ve been injured while in the care of a nursing home. What are some of the root causes of the understaffing that leads to these injuries?
There is a nursing shortage
For one thing, there is a shortage of nurses in the United States. More nurses are needed than are actually entering the field. This means that the staff-to-patient ratio can sometimes become very problematic. The events of recent years have only made this nursing shortage worse.
The pay is low
One of the biggest problems is that the pay for nursing home staff is so low. According to one report, certified nursing assistants (CNAs) earn the least and get injured more than other types of nurses. It’s also true that CNAs are the most common types of nurses in these homes. A related issue is simply that the turnover rate is very high. When nurses feel that they are working in a high-stress environment where they are often injured, and they are being paid far less than they would make in other positions, they are likely to move on with their careers. This means that even the workers who are still on staff tend to be relatively inexperienced.
The Baby Boomer generation
Finally, the Baby Boomer generation earned its nickname for a reason. In the postwar era, childbirth briefly ballooned. Individuals born during this era are now becoming elderly and are either seeking care at nursing homes or will be relatively soon. Since their generation itself is disproportionately large, the generations below them don’t have the workforce to provide for all of their needs as the aging population expands.
What are your options?
No matter why your loved one was neglected and/or injured in a nursing home, if you’re navigating the aftermath of an injurious scenario, it’s time to strongly consider seeking legal guidance. You may be able to seek financial compensation and to find a safer setting for your loved one.