As our loved ones grow older and round-the-clock care becomes more necessary, many families turn to the professional caregivers in nursing homes for help. The effects that the management and employees of a nursing home have on the residents cannot be overstated, because their elderly clients are dependent on them—and are most vulnerable when the nursing home is not doing its job.
Here’s what you need to know about how neglect by nursing home workers and management can impact the health of the elderly under their care, and what you can do to get legal help if your loved one has suffered in a nursing home.
Poor Nursing Home Management Hurts Residents
Many nursing homes function on a for-profit basis; they are businesses, and that means that they need to make money. The downside is that it means there is a strong incentive for owners or managers to cut corners whenever possible, and often that means cutting one of the biggest expenses first—labor.
An unscrupulous nursing home owner or management may reduce labor down to minimum levels in an attempt to save money. When labor is reduced, the remaining staff and employees often end up overworked, leading to stress and exhaustion, and ends up in life-threatening conditions for the residents of the home. Some of the issues that can result from a lack of staffing can include:
- Neglect of basic needs. Residents rely on the nursing home for some or all of the activities that many people take for granted—including essentials such as bathing, grooming, and going to the restroom. When there is not enough staff to meet the needs of every patient, residents can end up immobile and stuck in degrading conditions that can quickly lead to dangerous disease or infections.
- Medication errors. Many nursing home residents need medication to manage multiple conditions on a daily basis. Overworked or overburdened staff can cause mistakes, including wrong or improper quantities or even skipped doses of vital drugs.
- Inadequate mobility management. For residents who are less mobile or are completely bedridden, it is critical that staff take the time to help prevent the formation of pressure ulcers, or bedsores, by helping the resident change positions regularly. With inadequate staff levels, this may not occur, leading to deep wounds that may never heal.
- Failure to meet nutritional needs. Maintaining proper nutrition is especially important in the elderly population, and many nursing home residents need help eating. Inadequate staff levels may result in skipped meals or a lack of nutritional monitoring, which can lead to weight loss, vitamin deficiency diseases such as scurvy, and death.
Monitoring fluid intake is another critical issue that sometimes gets overlooked in neglectful nursing home situations. As we age, our body’s ability to signal that we are thirsty often fades away. Residents who are able to drink themselves often must be reminded, and those who cannot must be assisted by staff to ensure adequate fluid intake.
Get Legal Help for Nursing Home Neglect Now
Staffing issues impact nearly every aspect of care for the residents of a nursing home, and it is up to you to speak up when you suspect your loved one may not be receiving the care that he or she is due. Make sure that you are familiar with and can recognize the signs of nursing home abuse, and know that there are many resources available from the National Center on Elder Abuse for both the elderly and their loved ones.
An attorney who has experience with nursing home abuse cases can also connect you to the local authorities. He or she will also be able to evaluate your case to determine whether you and your loved ones have grounds for a civil lawsuit against the nursing home owner, management, staff, or other personnel involved in the neglect or abuse of a nursing home resident.
The Law Office of Kenneth E. Berger works hard to protect seniors in the Columbia, Florence, and Myrtle Beach areas, as well as across the entire state of South Carolina. If you are concerned that your loved one may have been injured due to abuse or neglect in a nursing home, we would like to hear from you. Please reach out to us by telephone, use our contact form to send an email, or click the live chat box on this page to get in touch today.