Over 30 Years Assisting Victims Of Injury, Negligence And Abuse

How understaffing hurts those in Chicago-area nursing homes

On Behalf of | Jul 28, 2022 | Nursing Home Negligence |

When older adults move into nursing homes, that transition is frequently the result of increased support needs. Those who do not feel confident that they can maintain their own household anymore or who have suffered a fall may require nursing home care.

The entire reason people move into a nursing home is so that there are professionals monitoring their health and ensuring their needs get met. Residents living in Chicago-area nursing homes pay thousands of dollars every month for even shared rooms, so they have every reason to expect a decent standard of care.

Unfortunately, many nursing homes are for-profit institutions and have serious issues with understaffing. How does chronic understanding put residents at risk?

People get hurt when there aren’t enough hands to help

The sad truth is that an understaffed nursing home simply cannot provide an adequate standard of care for its residents. When people need support to get dressed, feed themselves or go to the bathroom, there need to be staff members on hand to meet those needs quickly. Otherwise, those older adults may eventually try to handle their names on their own, which could lead to a fall.

Understaffing has a strong association with unsanitary facilities, bedsores and even abuse. Frustrated and underpaid staff members may lash out at the residents they are theoretically there to support because they have more demands on their time than they can possibly meet. Although Illinois has taken some steps to address understaffing in nursing homes, such as committing to major investments to provide staffing at facilities that accept Medicaid, there are tens of thousands of vulnerable people who are at risk of abuse or negligence-related medical issues.

How can family members help?

Those trying to support or advocate for someone living in a nursing home can help by researching facilities before making a choice and monitoring the facility’s condition whenever they visit, which is hopefully frequently.

Even a nursing home that has always had excellent reviews and has treated your family member well could lose multiple staff members in a short amount of time and experience a significant slump in the standard of living for its residents as a result. If you recognize warning signs of understaffing, such as unclean spaces, unkempt residents or a total lack of visible workers when you visit, taking note of that and following up at the subsequent visit can help you identify an issue quickly.

Holding facilities accountable for nursing home neglect can get the companies that run those facilities to change their staffing and hiring practices and may even inspire additional changes to state law.