Go to navigation Go to content
Toll-Free: 888-907-2631
Phone: 540-341-0007
Dulaney, Lauer & Thomas

How nursing home staff shortages can lead to abuse and neglect

The sinking economy has affected Virginians in many ways.  Home values have plummeted, people have lost jobs, and families and companies must to tighten their belts across the board.  Creating and sticking to a new budget is, for some, the only way to weather these tough economic times.

Nursing homes and assisted living facilities are no different.  When the economy gets tough, they have to cut costs to stay afloat just like everyone else.  However, when nursing homes cut costs, the results can have serious consequences.

One way that some facilities save money is by cutting back on staff, either by reducing the size of their staff or by reducing the number of hours that they work.  If these cutbacks are not well managed, nursing home residents can be left without adequate care, especially during difficult to staff times like nights, weekend, and holidays.

Without enough staff in place to perform the necessary duties, nursing home residents can become victims of abuse or neglect.  Consider how a short-staffed nursing home could be a contributing factor in an elder abuse or neglect case:

  • Residents may not receive their medications on time, if at all
  • Residents may not be taken to the bathroom often enough, and may soil themselves or develop an infection
  • Residents may not be given regular food or water
  • Residents may slip or fall because nobody is there to help them
  • Residents’ clothing or bedding may not be changed often enough
  • Residents may be restrained chemically or physically by staff too busy to properly care for them

Budget woes are never an excuse to cut facility staff to the point that a resident’s safety, health and happiness are compromised.  Nursing homes must always provide adequate, appropriate care for their residents no matter what.

If you suspect that your loved one’s nursing home is short staffed, don’t be afraid to speak up.  If, despite your interventions, you believe that your loved one is suffering from abuse or neglect, please take action.  You can contact the Virginia law offices of Dulaney, Lauer & Thomas to discuss your case confidentially for no cost or obligation.