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Why is neglect such a common nursing home issue?

Nursing homes help close a crucial gap between the support that a family can provide and the actual requirements an adult has. Family members often start considering a nursing home because their loved one has become forgetful or has experienced a fall. They assume that by paying professionals for around-the-clock care, their loved one will have a higher standard of living and also be generally safer.

Unfortunately, many nursing homes have an issue with medical neglect. Staff members don’t respond in a timely manner to the residents or do not provide them with appropriate levels of care. Why is nursing home neglect such a common issue in facilities intended to provide support for vulnerable older adults?

Understaffing is a common industry practice

One of the most significant pressures on the budget for a nursing home facility is the cost of keeping workers on hand to meet the needs of residents as they arise. Many nursing homes intentionally schedule the absolute minimum number of staff hours that they legally can given the number of residents at the facility. Some don’t even bother meeting the regulatory requirements.

The goal of such behavior is to save the nursing home money. The practical impact is often that the residents don’t have the care they require for health and safety. Those who live at nursing homes with frequent understaffing issues may be more likely to fall and to develop bed sores. They may also be at greater risk of medication distribution mistakes and infestations, like scabies or bed bugs, affecting their health.

How do you fight nursing home neglect?

The best way to fight nursing home neglect is to frequently visit your loved one and to listen to them when they have complaints. If they tell you that they have to wait 45 minutes to get support to use the bathroom or that staff members forget to bathe them, make note of those issues and look into them.

You may need to bring those issues up with the staff at the facility or even look into transferring your loved one to a different nursing home. Sometimes, you may even need to file a lawsuit against the facility because of your loved one’s injuries. Taking the right steps when your loved one suffers because of nursing home neglect will compensate them for their losses and help prevent future neglect at the same facility.