Nursing homes exist because not every older adult has family members who are willing or able to provide care for them as they age. Even those with multiple children in good health may have needs that exceed the capability of their family members.
For example, requiring monitoring or the administration of medication every few hours may make it so caring for an aging parent is not an option for those who have to continue working in order to save for their own retirement.
In theory, nursing homes provide a standard of care that allows older adults to be safe in their golden years. Unfortunately, there are a number of situations that can easily lead to nursing home neglect or even outright abuse.
Cutting staffing is a way to keep costs low
Trying to keep costs low is difficult when providing ongoing, around-the-clock care for multiple adults. Still, quite a few companies try to squeeze profit from nursing home facilities by keeping the staff level as low as possible. The desire to turn a profit can motivate questionable staffing decisions. With almost 70% of nursing homes privately-owned as for-profit companies, this issue is a common one.
One of the ways that these for-profit institutions ensure that they make a profit is by keeping staff levels to the minimum that they can legally get away with given the number of residents they have. The fewer staff members that are readily available for the needs of residents, the more likely it is for residents to wind up hurt because of a fall or suffering a medical event that could have been prevented with proper monitoring.
Bedsores are a perfect example of a medical condition that can develop because staff members don’t have enough time to engage with each patient and check them. If people working at the nursing home don’t have time to visit, inspect and clean each resident daily, issues can go unnoticed for far too long.
Low wages can lead to abusive behavior
When a facility that expects people to do difficult physical labor that might include lifting people and cleaning up adult human excrement only offers the minimum wage, they can’t be very picky about whom they hire.
People with psychological issues, those with a history of violence and people struggling to make ends meet by working three jobs could all be staff at a nursing home. Those with anger issues may take out their frustrations on residents, while people working multiple jobs could fall asleep on the job and may fail to perform all of their job duties.
The desire to profit can put residents in unnecessary danger. Those who get hurt or who learn that their loved one suffered an injury due to inadequate staffing or similar issues may have the right to take action against the facility that provided a substandard level of care.