Elderly Lives Matter®

How Broken Bones Happen in Understaffed Nursing Homes

On Behalf of | Nov 9, 2019 | Falls, Understaffed Nursing Homes

For some older adults, medical issues resulting from a fall are exactly why they end up in a nursing home. A broken hip or a few broken ribs can be enough to keep someone from adequately caring for themselves. If their family members do not live nearby or are unable to provide the degree of care an injured older adult requires, a nursing home often becomes the only viable solution for safety.

Unfortunately, residents in nursing homes don’t always receive the care that they pay so much money to get. If your loved one has recently had a broken bone while living as a resident in a nursing home or assisted living facility, that injury could be a red flag for inadequate care or neglect.

Understaffing is a critical issue in many residential care situations

Many residential care facilities are run by for-profit corporations. That means that there is a profit incentive behind the operation of the business. Instead of trying to provide the highest standard of care possible, many nursing homes will try to provide acceptable care for the lowest cost possible. One of the biggest expenses for residential care facilities is the cost of staff. By reducing staff levels to the lowest permitted under the law, facilities are able to make a profit for business owners and investors.

Unfortunately, they do so in a manner that potentially endangers the residents who produced that profit. Residential living facilities should have enough staff on hand to ensure that all residents receive adequate care at any given time, not just enough to comply with the law. It is impossible to predict when people will need to go to the bathroom or require other forms of assistance.

Having a bare minimum amount of staff available increases the risk of older adults falling and breaking their bones. Slips and falls occur frequently when vulnerable older adults do not have the care and support they need. Residential care facilities like nursing homes have an obligation to their patients to provide them with staff support or assistive technology necessary to prevent falls.

Residents may not get adequate support for daily needs

When one professional has to help dress an entire floor worth of people, they may rush or take a very long time to get to the rooms at the far end of their area. Individuals forced to rush may experience stress and make questionable decisions as a result. An adult could fall while staff tries to force them to move in a way that is painful or difficult.

Additionally, if staff members take a long time to reach your loved one for daily needs such as getting dressed or going to the bathroom, your loved one may not stay in their seat or bed waiting patiently. They may try to get up on their own to get dressed or go to the bathroom, potentially with tragic results.

If your loved one has broken a bone while in an assisted living facility or nursing home, be sure to ask them what happened and carefully review the official record of the accident for signs of neglect.

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