For many of us, it’s hard to understand how nursing home abuse can occur. Certainly no caregiver would intentionally cause harm to a resident, right? The reality is that the United States healthcare system is much more complicated than we may realize. After speaking with nurses about the reality of nursing homes, we can see how many negligence cases are fostered at a foundational level rather than by individual caregivers.

Lack of Funding in Nursing Homes

Many nursing homes receive their funding from Medicaid. This means that the federal government provides them with all of their money. Because of this, some patients are admitted to a home and their Medicaid benefits go the nursing home as payment for their care. A problem arises if the individual has no other source of income, as the Medicaid benefits do not cover all of their expenses and they have no way to cover the difference. As a Medicaid-funded nursing home, the nursing home is simply forced to deal with the lack of payment for services. This can sometimes cause those residents to be neglected.

Problems That Arise From Understaffing

In an effort to save money, many nursing homes are understaffed, leaving nurses to care for up to 20 patients a day. If a nurse calls into work sick unexpectedly, this can leave some nurses responsible for up to 30 patients during their shift. As a nurse, the first concern is for patients in distress. This means making sure that wounds are properly cleaned and that every patient has taken their medication. While ensuring that this is taken care of for 30 patients, some residents may not have proper assistance performing their daily hygiene tasks. This creates an environment where residents can survive but are not comfortable or happy.

Complications From Mentally-Disabled Residents

Sometimes, elderly residents developing dementia or Alzheimer’s can begin to experience distress from daily activities. As they lack the brain function to understand their surroundings, they can become defensive and combative towards healthcare staff. In some situations, dementia patients can soil themselves but not recognize the nursing staff that is changing them. Because of this, they become very combative and feel violated even though they have been changed by the same nursing staff several times before.

High Staff Turnover

The starting salaries for nurses in nursing homes are lower than many other fields of nursing, such as pediatric or psychiatric nursing. This contributes to a high employee turnover, where nurses do not stay in their positions for an extended period of time. This is stressful for healthcare professionals, as their duties and responsibilities change with each employee hired and let go. This renders it difficult to provide consistent care with confidence as duties can shift on a monthly or even weekly basis.

South Carolina Nursing Home Negligence Attorneys

While doing research for this post, I came across some helpful articles by the lawyers at Evans Moore, LLC. They know the specifics for pursuing legal actions in cases where a nursing home has been negligent towards residents or unlawful in their practices.

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