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How nursing home understaffing impacts quality of care

Most nursing homes in operation across Pennsylvania and the rest of the United States lack adequate staff. When there are not enough staff members around to tend to residents, it has a direct impact on the quality of care residents receive. Many American nursing homes also misled the government about how many people they had on staff, indicating that they knew their understaffing issues were problematic.

Per PBS, a review of payroll records from about 14,000 American nursing homes showed that seven out of 10 of them had fewer workers on-site than they let the government believe.

Nursing home understaffing statistics

The average understaffed American nursing home had about 12% fewer staff members than it reported to government agencies. Many understaffed nursing homes also failed to have registered nurses on-site to help residents. During a three-month period in 2017, a quarter of all nursing homes reviewed had no registered nurses on staff at all.

Nursing home understaffing risks

Nursing homes that lack adequate staff have more health code violations than those that maintain adequate staff. Health code violations might involve any number of circumstances, all of which have the potential to impact the health and safety of residents.

When a nursing home lacks adequate staff, it also means residents may not receive the help they need when they need it. When residents do not get mobility help, nursing home falls become increasingly common. Many such falls lead to serious injuries and, in some cases, fatalities.

Many believe low pay and high turnover are major contributors to nursing home understaffing. Unless nursing home employers figure out how to pay their workers competitive wages and make them want to stick around, the quality of care residents receive may continue to suffer.