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Why is understaffing such a problem in nursing homes?

There are multiple reasons why nursing home abuse and neglect occur, and some of them are more nefarious than others. One chronic problem that many nursing homes suffer from is understaffing. In fact, experts suggest that more than 90% of nursing homes in the United States currently struggle with understaffing.

There are multiple reasons why understaffing is such a problem in American nursing homes. According to the Nursing Home Abuse Guide, cost and retention are the major culprits to blame for understaffing.

The difficulties with hiring and keeping help

Many nursing homes cannot afford to have as many nursing assistants and registered nurses as they need. Instead, these nursing homes often just keep on piling responsibilities upon the existing staff until the situation becomes untenable and often abusive.

Because of these working conditions, many nursing homes find it very difficult to retain reliable staff. The further away from a major metropolitan area a nursing home is, the more likely it is to suffer from understaffing.

When nurses make mistakes, they are deadly

Given that many nurses in nursing homes are seriously overworked, it is not surprising that they often make mistakes. In fact, 46% of surveyed nurses reported that they have missed changes in a patient’s condition because of this. Nurses who work too much do not have the ability to pay attention to details, which can be deadly.

Of course, the patients who are at the most risk for abuse due to overwork staff are the ones who are the most vulnerable. Patients that require assistance with moving in bed and going to the bathroom often find that the staff neglects these individualized needs due to their overwhelming workload.


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