The Chronic Problems Related to Understaffed Nursing Homes
Deliberate understaffing is a common practice in nursing homes across the U.S., and especially here in Illinois, where nearly 70% of all long-term care networks are for-profit owned. When facilities are privately owned and operated, owners become more concerned about profits than having the right amount of staff available to provide quality patient care. According to a 2018-2019 report prepared by the Department of Health and Human Services, an incredible 90% of U.S. facilities are understaffed. The findings were documented by evidence through payroll records that showed nursing homes were underreporting staffing challenges.
Worker shortages contribute to nursing home struggles that sometimes lead to preventable hospitalizations, injuries, or deaths. Risky cost-cutting measures and unethical practices are creating a ripple of adverse effects that nursing home residents ultimately pay for.
- Bed sores, pressure sores, and decubitus ulcers
- Malnutrition and dehydration
- Spread of infectious diseases
- Clogged breathing tubes
- Over-prescription and medication errors
- Physical or chemical restraints
- Wandering and elopement from facilities
- Financial or material exploitation
- Intimidation, humiliation, and harassment
- Physical abuse
- Sexual assault
- Verbal and emotional abuse
Most victims that come from understaffed homes will suffer a combination of these injuries. Understaffing challenges also force employees to be responsible for an overwhelming number of patients with high care needs.
Understaffing During a COVID Outbreak Has Proven Deadly in Cook County
It’s no secret that nursing homes need more staff, funding, and resources to support resident and worker needs, especially in the greater Chicago area. And although Illinois requires 2.5 hours of direct care for residents each day, about a quarter of the residents in Chicago-area facilities live in understaffed conditions. As a result, proper infection control protocol is often relaxed or ignored.
This issue has become even more widely noted and valid during the coronavirus pandemic. As of July 13th, more than 13,260 confirmed cases of COVID-19 and 2,246 deaths at Illinois nursing homes have been documented in Cook County by the Illinois Department of Public Health. Likewise, the worst-rated nursing homes in Cook County have the highest concentration of COVID-related deaths.
Report Nursing Home Abuse & Neglect Concerns
If someone you love has been the victim of abuse or neglect in a nursing home, rehabilitation center, or a long or short-term care facility, the nursing home abuse and neglect attorneys of Levin & Perconti want to help. And if you suspect an understaffed nursing home facility has contributed to the decline of a loved one’s health or put them in danger during this unprecedented time, please contact us for a free consultation. Call us at 877-374-1417 or 312-332-2872 to speak with one of our experienced nursing home negligence lawyers in Illinois. You will never pay any fees unless we successfully resolve your claim.