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Understaffing in Virginia Nursing Homes Puts Residents at Risk

You trust a nursing home to comply with its duty to deliver top-quality care, so it is unfortunate to hear that many fail in this obligation. Many factors contribute to this form of neglect, but one of the most concerning is also one that is common and ongoing — understaffing. According to an article published by online resource Nurse.org, many assisted living facilities simply do not have enough of the right personnel on the job at any given moment. When there is insufficient staffing, residents are at risk of injuries due to neglect and abuse.

Because many residents are vulnerable, being unable to express their own concerns about understaffing, it is often up to loved ones to draw attention to the problem. If you suspect issues, contact a Virginia nursing home injury attorney right away. You can also read on for important information about the dangers of insufficient personnel at these facilities. 

Why Nursing Homes Become Understaffed

You are probably not surprised to learn that the top reason for low staffing levels is money. Running a nursing home is expensive. Administration often makes cuts for the highest costs, which tends to be employees, licensed practical nurses, certified nursing assistants, and other health care providers.

Another issue with understaffing nursing homes is retaining quality employees. The work environment can be challenging and stressful, leading many qualified workers to pursue careers in hospitals, urgent care centers, clinics, schools, and private practices. 

Short Staffing Means Extreme Risks for Resident Well-Being

When a nursing facility is short on labor resources, residents are more likely to suffer injuries. Whether it is an independent adult living arrangement or skilled nursing center, the risk of neglect is heightening. Residents may suffer from: 

  • Dehydration or malnutrition due to oversights in providing food and water according to residents’ needs;
  • Falls, when residents need to move and there are not any employees available to assist;
  • Problems with cleanliness, since the staff does not have time to address cleaning common areas, individual units, and linens;
  • Issues with personal hygiene, including infections from lack of bathing;
  • Bedsores from lack of movement and engagement;
  • Dirty or unsafe common areas;
  • Errors in administering medication, where busy nursing staff confuse medications or dosages; and,
  • Failure to supervise individuals who suffer from severe medical conditions.

While these forms of neglect from understaffing are troubling, lack of essential personnel can also lead to abusive situations. Stressed employees can lose their patience with residents, often lashing out from frustration and anger. At such a point, understaffing may result in intentional abuse or attacks against an innocent resident. It can also lead workers to use physical restraints on a resident when employees feel they have no other options.

Discuss Your Concerns with a Skilled Virginia Nursing Home Injuries Lawyer

It is critical to address understaffing and protect residents as soon as you become aware of issues – whether it is you or a loved one who is at risk of abuse or neglect. To learn more about your rights, please call Hampton Injury Law, PLC to schedule a case evaluation. A Virginia nursing home injury attorney can advise you on your legal remedies after reviewing your circumstances.

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