Abuse and neglect of nursing home residents in Kentucky and elsewhere result from a number of factors, one of which is understaffing. There are simply too few employees to take adequate care of the residents.
The Consequences of Understaffing
What happens when there are not enough nurses and nurse aides to meet the residents’ needs?
- The employees are overworked and stressed, which makes them more likely to abuse residents.
- Caregivers have so many responsibilities that they may be unable to turn patients who need help repositioning; this results in pressure ulcers, or bedsores—a common and life-threatening medical problem.
- Residents may show signs of neglect, such as malnutrition, dehydration, and contractures because staff do not have time to ensure that they receive help eating, taking fluids, and getting exercise.
- Residents may not be helped to bathe, put on clean clothing, and have clean bedding.
- Staff may resort to methods such as overmedication and physical restraints to keep residents “manageable.”
Why Can’t the Nursing Homes Just Hire More Staff?
This would seem the obvious solution to the problem. The trouble is, private nursing homes are reluctant to pare down their profits to hire more staff, and nonprofits claim not to be receiving adequate subsidies from Medicare and Medicaid. If nursing homes were to add staff without obtaining additional funding, they would have to pay employees less to make room in the budget for additional bodies; I don’t think that would go over very well, and the quality of staff would suffer.
If your loved one is being subjected to Kentucky nursing home abuse, contact Gray and White Law. Call us at 502-210-8942 or toll free at 888-450-4456 to set up a FREE, no-obligation consultation.