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Is Understaffing in Nursing Homes Leading to Neglect?

Across the country, Medicare lowered its star ratings in nearly 1,400 nursing homes (US News). They lowered their ratings because those homes had inadequate numbers of registered nurses. Understaffing in nursing homes is a huge problem. In fact, payroll records revealed that nursing homes were routinely understaffed. In particular, many of them did not have enough registered nurses on staff. This is problematic because registered nurses are the highest-trained caregivers. They supervise other nurses and aides and help prevent serious injuries from occurring.

In 2010, the Affordable Care Act required nursing homes to publish their payroll data. Before this, nursing homes would use their own unverified reports. Now, many nursing homes are struggling to meet the new payroll reporting requirements. One of those requirements was to employ a registered nurse on staff. As a result, Medicare lowered their ratings because a nurse was not on staff for a “high number of days” over a three-month period.

Has Understaffing Affected Wisconsin Nursing Homes?

In Green Bay, Crossroads Care Center is shutting its doors and moving more than 40 residents out. The same company closed a nursing home in Waupaca last year. In Brown County alone, four nursing homes have closed since 2016.

The Bridges of Milwaukee Rehab Care Center is closing its 144-bed unit. After a long history of serious quality issues and penalties, they decided to shut down for good.

The number of nursing homes closing in Wisconsin is alarming. Statewide, three nursing homes have already closed their doors in 2020. A total of 33 nursing homes closed in the last 3 and a half years. Understaffing in nursing homes is a big reason why many of these facilities have closed.

Does Understaffing in Nursing Homes Lead to Neglect?

Understaffing in nursing homes is a serious issue and one that continues to plague the industry. Understaffing affects an estimated 90 percent of all nursing homes. Residents who live in these facilities are at a greater risk for suffering neglect and harm. Some of the signs of nursing home neglect include:

  • Malnutrition
  • Bedsores
  • Dehydration
  • Infections
  • Fractures
  • Pneumonia
  • Physical abuse
  • Weight loss

Nursing assistants must turn and move patients routinely to avoid bedsores and infections. They need to supervise patients and assist them in walking to and from the bathroom and getting out of bed. When facilities overwork their caregivers and under-staff their units, they put residents in danger. As a result, elderly residents are often forced to sit in urine-soaked bed sheets or in uncomfortable positions for far too long. They may fall trying to get out of bed themselves or suffer serious injury when left unattended.

Understaffing in nursing homes can cause caregivers to overlook serious medical issues. In fact, one survey reported that 76 percent of surveyed nurses in the U.S. neglected ambulation for seniors in nursing homes due to their excessive workloads. This can result in bed sores, or the nurse could miss discovering a serious injury.

Contact Our Nursing Home Lawyers in Wisconsin

If your loved one suffered nursing home abuse or neglect, you need a law firm on your side. You need a law firm with experience holding abusers and institutions accountable. During this difficult time, elder abuse lawyers can protect your family and your loved one’s rights to compensation. At Martin Law Office, S.C., our nursing home lawyers offer compassionate and aggressive legal representation you can trust. Call us at 414-856-4010 or fill out our confidential contact form for more information. We know you need help protecting your loved one from further abuse and making sense of the harm done to them. We can provide complete legal guidance and compassionate care throughout this ordeal.


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