Nursing home abuse and neglect can be direct, such as staff members who purposely withhold food or other care from residents, but it can also happen indirectly, due to a lack of staff.
Lack of proper staffing in care facilities can have a range of physical and psychological effects on residents. According to the Journal of the National Medical Association, about 90 percent of nursing homes around the country experience understaffing.
Understaffing in Westminster nursing homes remains a problem for many families with older loved ones in senior care facilities. If you believe your elderly family member’s health problems stem from understaffing, contact an attorney at Mac Hester Law to discuss filing a claim against the neglect your loved one has suffered.
What Problems Can Understaffed Senior Care Centers Cause?
Senior care facilities in Westminster and elsewhere are understaffed usually because they lack proper hiring funds. Staff who work in facilities with too few employees may enjoy overtime pay; however, the nature of the job causes mental, emotional, and physical fatigue. Overworked staff members can subsequently cause or contribute to numerous problems throughout a nursing home, including:
- Medication errors
- Bedsores from residents left in their beds too long
- Malnutrition and dehydration
- Hazardous conditions, such as wet flooring that causes slip and fall accidents
- Unsanitary conditions
- Impatience when providing care due to fatigue
Understaffing issues can also interfere with monitoring health changes among residents and checking on their wellness in general.
The Issue with Overtime for Westminster Nursing Facility Staff
While overtime pay can entice staff to work more days and longer hours, it can also create an unhealthy environment. Staff may feel like they have to work even when they are exhausted or need a break, causing them to make errors or otherwise neglect residents.
Instead of paying a small number of nurses and caregivers to work overtime, assisted living centers in Westminster should maintain a healthy resident-to-staff ratio. If there are two or three employees per one resident, members can receive the care they need instead of suffering from neglect. Unfortunately, too many nursing homes feature varying staff-to-patient ratios on a daily basis, resulting in inconsistent and negligent care.
Signs of Nursing Home Neglect Due to Understaffing
Chapter 26, Title 3.1, Section 102 of the Colorado Code discusses proper care for residents in senior living facilities and defines different types of abuse, including those related to negligence.
Older loved ones in local nursing homes might exhibit several symptoms indicating a lack of attentive staff numbers. They may have cuts and bruises from hazard-related injuries from having to move on their own, or bedsores from immobility. Family members may notice signs of malnutrition and dehydration, such as papery skin, sunken eyes, and noticeable weight loss.
Elderly family members may seem withdrawn and not want to talk about the care they are receiving or may be frightened of certain workers who are abusive. Their personal hygiene might have decreased as well, or the rooms they live in could be messy and dirty. The facility itself can also appear poorly maintained when there are not enough staff members to keep the premises clean and sanitary.
Contact an Attorney About Understaffing in a Westminster Senior Care Facility
If your older family member is experiencing health issues because of understaffing in Westminster nursing homes, now is the time to contact an attorney. You could receive the counsel and representation necessary to prevent further facility mismanagement and keep your loved one safe.
Contact Mac Hester Law today to speak with one of our talented lawyers and learn what we can do about your case.