Individuals in nursing homes are usually there because they need around the clock care or supervision. They cannot live alone, so they need to have an attentive staff to watch over them and assist them when needed to ensure their health and safety.
Nursing homes claim they offer this type of care, but there is a prevalence of understaffing in these facilities that makes it almost impossible for them to provide the level of care they claim.
Checks and balances
While it is true that nursing homes do have strict regulations and often have oversight from government agencies, PBS explains that there is no universal rule for staffing. Medicare, for example, sets no specific staffing requirements, such as how many patients to nurses a facility needs. Other agencies who regulate this industry also drop the ball and do not impose such standards for staffing.
Nursing homes also may seem like they have enough staff when any type of regulatory check occurs because these often happen on weekdays when the facility has a full staff. On weekends, the story is much different. This is the most common time for understaffing issues.
When a nursing home is understaffed, it can lead to serious gaps in care. Staff may be unable to follow protocols and provide adequate care to each resident. They may have to rush, which can lead to overlooking certain tasks, such as rotating a bed-bound patient. They may be late getting medications to patients as well.
Ideally, a nursing home should have a staff to patient ratio that allows staff to do their jobs effectively and ensures residents get adequate care.