When loved ones are no longer able to care for themselves, it is the hope that they receive the best help possible. These individuals often require assistance with many of the activities or needs of daily living, such as eating, using the bathroom, dressing, and even turning or repositioning in bed. Relatives who cannot provide the adequate time or medical skills necessary to meet these challenges often depend on nursing homes to provide the care and attention these individuals deserve.
With the growing number of seniors in this country, in addition to the many disabled persons in need of support, nursing homes require the assistance of capable staff members to meet the rising demands of these individuals. Far too often, this requirement is not met, and tragic results occur. Most of the time the reason for this is that the goal of a nursing home, like any other business, is maximizing profits. Unlike most businesses, nursing homes are not able to raise the price of their services to increase profits because most of their services are paid for by insurance, Medicare, or Medicaid. There are specific limits on the amounts of money they will pay for the care provided by the facility. Instead, to maximize profits, nursing homes often have to cut expenses. Unfortunately, most expenses are challenging to cut or control. The one area where expenses are very controllable is staffing. By cutting down on staffing levels, facilities can save a significant amount of costs and create profitability. Unfortunately, nothing is more clearly associated with neglect and abuse than understaffing.
Examples of this neglect can be as simple as not taking residents to the toilet in time, which can lead to soiled, wet clothes being left on the skin for hours, causing loss of dignity and skin breakdown. Residents who need assistance with ambulating can be at risk for falls when they receive that assistance from the staff entrusted with their care. Bedridden residents can develop horrible bedsores and contractures if not turned and repositioned promptly. Those who need assistance with eating and drinking can be subject to malnutrition and dehydration if the appropriate care is not provided. Unfortunately, these are the exact results we see all over the country.