A crisis is developing in the nursing home industry. Certified nursing assistants continue to receive low wages with few benefits while providing care to some of our most vulnerable citizens. These nursing positions often require employees to work long hours with minimal opportunity for advancement. These work conditions lead to high employee turnover.
Worse yet, long work hours can lead to fatigue which puts nursing home residents in danger. This cycle of underpaying and understaffing is likely to continue in the years ahead.
According to the US Bureau of Labor Statistics, the number of nursing home workers across America has doubled over the last decade with many more jobs likely available by 2026. Statistics show that the population of Americans over 85 years will double by 2030 with most requiring some level of professional skilled nursing care.
According to a report released by the Paraprofessional Healthcare Institute (PHI), “as a result of poor-quality nursing assistant jobs, vacancies are growing, and turnover is high, undermining the continuity and quality of care for nursing home residents.” PHI recommends “improving compensation to promote worker retention and improve care for consumers.”
Low pay adversely affects patient care
Nursing home industry reports show a correlation between nursing home abuse and understaffing. Employees are often underpaid, overworked, feel unappreciated and are therefore more likely to display abusive behavior towards residents because of their latent frustration and exhaustion. Nursing home owners understaff and underpay to reduce labor costs and generate greater profits. However, too many patients and too few staff create an unsustainable staff member-to-resident ratio which leads to patient neglect, mistreatment or even abuse. Studies show that nursing home residents who have been abused or neglected can suffer from psychological and psychosocial problems, physical illness, mental distress, and even death.
Residents entered a nursing facility because their health required them to receive skilled care that there family simply cannot provide. This can include administration of medications, physical therapy and assistance with daily activities such as grooming, bathing and eating. Sadly, serious health problems can arise when the staff fails to meet the resident’s needs. Residents may not receive their medication on time or at all, can become malnourished or dehydrated, or receive improper medical care, which can lead to serious health consequences and even death.
What can you do?
Whenever visiting loved ones in a nursing home, look for signs of physical and emotional abuse. Ask staff for copies of medication order sheets and watch as staff dispenses medication to ensure the proper medication and dosages are being administered.
Elderly citizens should not have to suffer at the hands of negligent or abusive nursing home staff and depending upon the circumstances, legal action can be taken for battery, negligence or improper supervision and care. It’s difficult to put a price tag on these types of damages, especially the pain and suffering of the nursing home residents, but with the help of a skilled nursing home abuse attorney such as our team at Weinstein & Cohen, you do have options. Weinstein & Cohen has been handling nursing home cases across Florida for over 30 years. We understand how big and small nursing home companies work and what to look for when it comes to staff abuse. If you or someone you care about has been injured or mistreated in a nursing home in South Florida or Southwest Florida, contact the Miami Lakes and Naples nursing home attorneys at Weinstein & Cohen at 305-374-1011 or 239-793-3331, or visit fairnessforall.com for an absolutely free and confidential legal consultation to learn more about your options.