Nursing Home Staffing Crisis Threatens Resident Safety:

An AHCA survey indicates that a major staffing crisis continues to plague the nation’s nursing homes, leaving elderly American residents vulnerable to nursing home neglect and abuse.

According to ABC News 4 a recent survey from the American Health Care Association (AHCA) shows that the staffing and economic crisis that has been a scourge for nursing homes across the country has not abated. Centered on illustrating the current state of the nursing home industry in light of the crisis, the AHCA survey reveals a situation AHCA President and CEO Mark Parkinson called “severe and persistent.”

The survey, explaining that nursing home staffing crisis threatens resident safety, questioned over 750 nursing home providers across the country and discovered the following:

  • Percentage of nursing homes forced to cope with moderate to high workforce shortages: 87
  • Percentage of the above dealing with high levels of workforce shortages: 48
  • Percentage of homes struggling to hire staff: 98
  • Percentage of homes requesting current staff work overtime to cover shortages: 99
  • Percentage of homes supplementing with temp agency workers: 70
  • Percentage of nursing homes offering increased wages and bonuses: 90
  • Percentage of homes prevented by lack of funding and a poor financial situation from offering competitive wages to hire new staff: 76
  • Percentage of homes struggling to overcome uninterested or under-qualified candidates in order to hire staff: 71
  • Percentage of nursing homes in which the staffing situation has worsened since January: 60
  • Percentage of nursing homes where new admissions are limited due to workforce shortages: 61
  • Estimated percent of cost increase at facilities since last year: 41
  • Approximate percentage of homes currently operating at a loss: 60
  • Percentage of nursing home providers that feel the current pace  of operation is not sustainable beyond one year: 53
  • Percentage of homes concerned about closing due to staffing issues: 73

“We all agree that nursing homes need to hire more caregivers—the question is how,” said Parkinson. “Unfunded staffing mandates would only make the crisis worse. Congress must invest in our long term care workforce and protect access to care for millions of seniors.”

Nursing home understaffing leads to increased incidence of nursing home neglect and abuse. An inadequate workforce in a nursing home means fewer workers are on hand to provide the kind of personal and medical care nursing home residents are entitled to receive to protect their health and human dignity. Understaffing in nursing homes can result in the following examples of nursing home neglect and abuse:

  • Reduced staff may interfere with the timely provision of adequate food and water, leading to nursing home malnutrition and dehydration
  • Residents may not be bathed as frequently as necessary, which leads to poor nursing home hygiene
  • Having fewer staff members available to help move immobile residents leads to the occurrence and deterioration of nursing home bedsores
  • Residents stranded by unavailable staff may attempt to get out of bed or use the bathroom by themselves, leaving them at risk of experiencing nursing home falls
  • Nursing home injuries can result when a single staff member attempts to move a patient who requires the assistance of two staff members
  • Nursing home understaffing can lead to illnesses, infections, and in some cases, even death

Holding Nursing Homes Responsible for Providing Adequate Staffing

Your loved one deserves nothing less than safe, high-quality care at the Philadelphia/PA or NJ nursing home where he or she resides. Meeting health and safety standards and ensuring the physical, mental, and psycho/social well-being of their residents is a requirement to which Pennsylvania and New Jersey nursing homes must adhere, and this includes providing residents with adequate levels of qualified staff. Should you have concerns about the quality of care in a Pennsylvania or New Jersey nursing home, or if you suspect neglect, abuse, or fraud has occurred at the Pennsylvania, Philadelphia, or New Jersey nursing home where your loved one lives, please contact nursing home abuse attorney Brian P. Murphy to discover your legal rights and options.