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Oregon Nursing Home Understaffing Lawyers - Bend/Portland, OR

Residents and their families pay significant amounts of money each month to ensure that there is the proper amount of trained supervision, healthcare providers, and treatment rendered to loved ones  This is because, after all, residents are no longer able to live at home without intervention and loved ones are unable to fulfill their needs.  But nursing homes are a business, and like all businesses nursing homes try to figure out ways to increase profits.  Staffing is the largest cost for most nursing homes, which is why cutting staff translates directly to increasing profits.  But understanding in Oregon nursing homes can lead to serious personal injury and even wrongful death.  Our Oregon nursing home understaffing lawyers explain why this is so dangerous and how to protect your loved ones.

It is important to note that understaffing is a national issue amongst nursing homes.  According to federal research statistics, approximately 70% of nursing homes had lower staffing levels than they reported after surprise checks.  Some of these staffing levels were at dangerously low levels.  The statistics demonstrated that these dangerously low staffing levels were even worse on weekends, which brought new meaning to skeleton shifts.  

Understaffing Translates Into Substandard Care

Understaffing in nursing homes is dangerous for two reasons.  First, according to other research statistics, understaffing in nursing homes directly translates to lower quality care and treatment of residents.  And this is understandable considering that there are less caretakers for residents, meaning that caretakers have to divide their time with residents by a greater ratio.  This takes away more time away from care, treatment, evaluation, and otherwise important functions with residents.  Some of the most common quality of care issues with understaffing includes the following:

  • Less staff supervising residents for crises, wandering, elopement, and instances of abuse or assault;
  • Inadequate staff means less evaluations, shorter evaluations, and less time spent with residents to diagnose conditions such as the start of a pressure ulcer or bedsore;
  • Less time cleaning and doing premises sweeps to ensure the facility is safe;
  • Fewer staff members mean less help in medical emergencies;
  • Less time spent treating patients with medications, food, hydration, and hygiene; and
  • Other care being handled less frequently.

Second, understaffing usually indicates greater problems at nursing homes.  Not only with properly hiring, training, supervision, and other operational functions, but also in terms of care.  Nursing homes that understaff are generally more likely to also cut corners with treatment and evaluations.  This is particularly dangerous and devastating for residents of nursing homes because they are, after all, more vulnerable than other individuals in the community.

Signs of Understaffing and What You Need to Do To Protect Yourself or Your Loved Ones

Understaffing signs can be difficult to determine at first.  This is because most nursing homes schedule initial meetings, interviews, and intakes during business days.  Applicants and their families will likely be brought into a business center where there will be plenty of administrative staff, as well as other activity with other applicants, guests, vendors, and employees.  It will look busy and full staffed.

But the most important part is the back area of the nursing home where residents are living and the amount of healthcare providers that are back there.  This area might not always be shown to applicants, not initially at least.  Sometimes this area is artificially boosted with other staff members who are not healthcare providers but may look that way.  Nursing homes can be quite proficient at ensuring that their facilities look busy and well-staffed while meeting potentially new residents.  This is on purpose.

This is what makes determining understaffing difficult.  However, residents and their families may be able to determine when nursing home staffing is low by looking our for certain red flags and warnings such as the following:

  • Before you even go to a facility look for federal “surveys” and nursing home reports which will be published annually or even multiple times a year.  These surveys will explain deficiencies with understaffing.  If you see even one violation for understaffing, especially recently, stay away.  Multiple violations over a span of years means the nursing home administrators are reckless and potentially dangerous.
  • Visit on weekends.  Federal research statistics cited above noted how poorly nursing homes were staffed on weekends.  Visiting on a weekend will show you what the facility’s true staffing levels are.  
  • Ask families of other residents.  Some facilities have an open area where TV, dining, and other social activities are held.  Applicants and new residents may be welcomed to participate and see this area.  This is a great time to ask about staffing levels and how long time residents feel about the staff.
  • After admission, ask your loved one how often he or she is fed and how long staff stays, when was the last bath, when was the last time the room was cleaned, how often staff come in to check, and other questions regarding staff interaction.  You are not obligated to leave your loved one in a facility that is understaffed, and many contracts have options in the first several weeks that if the facility is a bad fit a resident may cancel the contract without penalty.

Bend/Portland, Oregon Nursing Home Understaffing Lawyers

If you or a loved one have been seriously injured or killed as a result of nursing home abuse or neglect contact the Oregon Nursing Home Abuse Lawyers at Kuhlman Law at our number below or fill out the intake form.  We offer a free initial case evaluation and handle cases on a contingency fee which means that you pay no money unless we recover.  

We handle cases throughout the state including Bend and Portland Oregon, Redmond, Central Oregon, Multnomah County, Deschutes County, Salem, Eugene, Corvallis, Lane County, Medford, Gresham, Albany, Medford, Beaverton, Umatilla, Pendleton, and Hillsboro.  

We also have an office in Minneapolis, Minnesota and take Nursing Home Abuse cases throughout the Twin Cities, including St. Paul, Hennepin County, Ramsey County, Dakota County, Washington County, Anoka County, Scott County, Blaine, Stillwater, and Saint Paul Minnesota.  Ask us for help with your nursing home understaffing cases.

Please act quickly, there is a limited time (Statute of Limitations) in which you can bring a claim under the law. 

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For more information on Medical Malpractice and Nursing Home Abuse, please also visit – StoppingMedicalMistakes.com

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