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Shortage of nursing home staff part of the problem

Transitioning a loved one from a comfortable, long-term environment to a nursing home or continuing care facility can prove emotionally challenging on everyone, and this is especially true if you lack a strong amount of faith in the staff and facility you ultimately choose. Continuing care in America can prove tremendously expensive, and sending your loved one to live in the best possible facility available is not always a legitimate financial option.

Further complicating matters is that fact that, per NursingHomeAbuseGuide.org, more than 90 percent of the nation's nursing homes are experiencing a staffing shortage. When such facilities are short-staffed, the level of care tends to suffer, and your loved one could be among those most affected.

Why nursing homes are understaffed

The nursing home environment can prove challenging and emotional for many. Some employees struggle with making close connections with residents who later pass on, and others find it difficult to watch people age and possibly lose control over themselves in the process. Staff pay is also not particularly high in most places, and this can lead medical professionals to forgo working in residential facilities in favor of taking on more lucrative positions at hospitals or traditional doctor's offices.

Problems that often result from understaffing

When nursing homes and continuing care centers are understaffed, the residents are often the ones who suffer the most. Some of the repercussions of being understaffed are obvious, such as residents getting less individualized attention and care from facility staff. This can prove particularly problematic for residents who lack mobility and require assistance for everything from rolling over to using the bathroom, as failing to address such needs promptly can lead to infections, bed sores and other health issues.

Other problems that often result from understaffing might be less obvious. If staff members are subjected to working long hours for little pay, they may become bitter in time, and their attitudes and dedication to the job may suffer as a result. Exhausted employees are also more prone to making mistakes while at work, which might involve administering the wrong medication, or giving a patient the wrong dosage of a correct medication. Overworked nursing home staff, too, are more likely to miss signs and symptoms of illness or a worsening condition in a patient, meaning they are unable to address associated needs promptly and effectively.

When you select a long-term residence for your loved one, you want to believe they are being cared for in the same manner you would do so yourself. Statistics suggest this is not always the case, however, so if you believe your loved one might be suffering at a residential home or continuing care facility, consider calling a lawyer.

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