Understaffed NC Nursing Homes Lead To Neglect And Abuse

Did you know that the average nursing home only has one registered nurse for every 50 to 70 elderly residents? Or that, with the senior population growing each day, the number of people in adult care facilities is growing by the day? Unfortunately, understaffing in North Carolina nursing homes is a chronic, dangerous problem across the state – and a problem that leads to a range of nursing home neglect and nursing home abuse issues.

The bottom line is that nursing homes are businesses. Although many receive state and federal assistance, nursing homes are very expensive to run and experienced health care professionals are hard to come by and expensive to hire. The result is that a significant number of North Carolina nursing homes are woefully understaffed. This trouble with staffing can lead to untrained staff, inexperienced staff, overwhelmed staff, and stressed staff.

When a nursing home staff is overstressed and outnumbered, the consequences are dire for the nursing homes residents themselves. Instances of neglect and abuse increase:

•    The use of medical restraints and physical restraints. Since many patients need around-the-clock care and supervision, an understaffed nursing home may fall back on restraints in order to prevent fall or elopement. However, while some restraint use is necessary in some cases, in most cases it simply leads to a lowered quality of life, bedsores, mobility problems, and other mental and physical health concerns.
•    Patients don’t get individualized attention. With fewer staff members, a patient’s care plan may not be known to all, and your loved one’s specific needs and circumstances maybe overlooked. More shockingly, it is not rare for a patient to miss a dose of their medication, to receive the wrong amount of medication, or to receive the wrong medication altogether.
•    The prevalence of bedsores, malnutrition, and dehydration. Less attention means the greater likelihood that your loved one develops a preventable, chronic health issues that is overlooked by an overwhelmed staff. These health problems can be extremely painful and lead to much more serious conditions and even death.