Nursing homes are supposed to be spaces where older adults can receive the care and support they need to thrive during their golden years. Sadly, not all nursing homes prioritize the well-being of their patients over profit. Nursing homes all too often focus on minimizing their costs rather than maximizing their standard of care.
Employee costs are often one of the biggest liabilities for nursing homes, so keeping staff levels low helps them keep profits higher. Unfortunately, when there are fewer staff members available, nursing home residents don’t get the care and support they depend on to stay safe and healthy.
Research shows that profit often comes at the expense of patient care
A significant number of modern nursing homes are for-profit facilities. As you may imagine, the profit incentive at these companies often means lower wages for staff and fewer people available to help during any given shift. Nursing home residents may have to wait for help when they desperately need to go to the bathroom or to have someone assist them.
Nursing homes generally have to report staffing ratios and even receive a government rating based on the care they provide. Sadly, much of the data used for that rating is self-provided, meaning that companies running nursing homes are often able to game the system for their financial benefit.
In fact, the most profitable nursing homes seem to have the highest rate of patient dissatisfaction and employee turnover. Staff members can’t manage the demands of the job, especially when balanced with the low pay they receive, and residents experience a decline in quality of life to go along with their increased difficulty in getting timely assistance and care.
Nursing homes have an obligation to their residents
If you have lived in a nursing home where staffing is an issue or if a loved one has suffered neglect due to understaffing at a facility, you may have grounds to take legal action against that business for both your losses and the protection of other residents.
Staff neglect in a nursing home could lead to residents falling, malnourishment, infestations with lice and bedsores. If you have reason to suspect neglect or understaffing have impacted patient care, you may want to begin documenting your concerns in writing to establish a pattern of substandard care.