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Nursing Home Abuse and Negligence Linked to Lack of Staffing, Experts Say

According to experts, understaffing may be leading to instances of negligence and abuse in the nation’s nursing homes and elder care facilities. Most homes for seniors are for-profit organizations and families pay an average of $71,000 per year to offer their loved ones access to such a facility. However, according to the Department of Health and Human Services, approximately 90% of nursing homes across the country do not have adequate numbers of staff to provide good care. Experts say that understaffed facilities are more likely to offer substandard care and are more likely to have patients who are victims of negligence and abuse.

Understaffing, according to experts, can create conditions where mistakes can occur. Overworked nursing home employees may be too distracted to check medications or allergy information, for example, leading to potentially deadly mistakes. Not enough staff can mean less supervision during recreational times and washing, leading to slip and fall accidents and other problems. Too few staff can also result in too little personal interaction between patients and staff. In rare cases, overworked staff may feel resentful and overburdened, conditions that may pave the way for cases of abuse and negligence.

In addition to understaffing, the Department of Health and Human Services reports that most nursing homes have underpaid and overworked staff, which results in high worker turnover and even lower quality of care. At some nursing homes, the turnover rate is 100% yearly. High turnover rates mean lower quality care as staff are essentially always learning and are not given the opportunity to get to know patients and to become aware of any special care that patients need.

Legislators have been attempting to create legislation that would regulate nursing homes and provide better quality of care. So far, attempts at legislation have not been very successful. For nursing home residents and residents of other elder care facilities, friends and family are still the best source of protection and help. Experts say that frequent visits to a loved one in a home can help ensure better quality can and can ensure that any signs of abuse or negligence are dealt with promptly. Florida attorneys specializing in nursing home abuse and negligence can also be a powerful resource for Florida families concerned about elderly loved ones.

A Florida personal injury attorney with experience in nursing home abuse and negligence has the resources to conduct a thorough investigation. Since nursing homes are for-profit bodies, they will always take an attorney seriously. Nursing homes may dismiss family concerns or patient claims, but an attorney knowledgeable in state laws can ensure full cooperation of staff and changes that mean higher quality for patients. Attorneys can also help remove victims from dangerous or abusive situations and can ensure that positive changes are instituted in nursing homes. If a patient has already suffered a personal injury due to nursing home neglect or negligence, an attorney can help fight for fair compensation that can mean the best quality medical care for that victim.