To avoid nursing home neglect, one key is to find a nursing home with the proper staffing levels. Many times, neglect happens in understaffed homes simply because the small number of workers cannot do everything at once, so they're forced by necessity to respond slowly, neglect certain residents and not give them the care they expect.
How common is proper staffing? Not as common as you may think. Some reports have found that under-staffing runs rampant.
In the past, nursing homes could simply report all of their staffing numbers on their own. This meant that they could, in theory, alter the numbers to make it look like more people were working than actually were. When this changed and officials started tracking the numbers, that's when researchers discovered that many homes did not have enough workers on the schedule at the same time.
This risk of under-staffing is simple: Patient care will suffer. We often think of neglect as a worker not caring enough to do their job properly. With an under-staffed home, though, the workers can be as dedicated as they want, but they cannot do it all. If a single worker gets three call buttons at the same time, they have to delay care for two of those individuals and decide who to help first. Under-staffing can also create a chaotic work environment where workers may simply forget to do certain tasks since they have so much to do.
If your loved one is neglected, injured or caused to suffer in any way in a nursing home, be sure you are well aware of your legal options. It may be possible to hold a nursing home accountable for problems caused by under-staffing.