While some homes are certainly well-staffed with professionals who provide excellent patient care, an alarming percentage of homes do not. You may be surprised at how prevalent this issue is.
The federal government recommends 3.45 hours/day of nursing care, and nursing home experts recommends at least 4 hours/day. Over 90% of California homes have maintained far below 3 hours of nursing hours/day on numerous occasions. On the federal level, the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) proposed requiring nursing home aides to spend a minimum of 2 hours per day with each resident. Notably, the HHS found that 53 percent of nursing homes did not even meet that low standard. While signs of physical abuse are often readily noticeable, patients’ emotional, intellectual and spiritual needs are routinely misunderstood and/or completely ignored. The frequency of depression is high in skilled nursing homes and understaffing/neglect is most often the culprit. Some additional effects of understaffing include:
Low staff-to-patient ratios, in turn, require staff members to perform tasks they are not properly trained for. In fact, the CDC found that about 34 percent of nursing assistants felt their training left them not prepared or only somewhat prepared for their job responsibilities. In states like California, where the problem is worse than the national average, the lack of staff training is likely much higher.
Working at a nursing home can be emotionally and physically demanding, even if staffing is adequate. Understaffing entails too much work and too little pay, resulting in high stress, exhaustion and poor morale, in turn leading staffers to lose their compassion, patience, and respect for residents.
High turnover in nursing home environments is common, which leads to little care or opportunities to bond with patients. Not knowing their residents well can lead staff members to make mistakes in patient care.
89% of nursing home patients never report abuse.