The United States has laws requiring a minimum staffing level in nursing homes. They are mandated to have enough staff because residents’ safety is at risk if there aren’t enough nurses or aides.
U.S. nursing homes need to staff those with the right competencies to be sure that residents receive the right mental health, physical health and psychosocial supports.
Unfortunately, many nursing homes are understaffed. They may not have enough nurses or aides to provide around-the-clock care for all the people living there.
What can they do to get more workers?
Nursing homes have options when putting together their teams. Some options to bring in more workers include:
- Polling current residents and clients to figure out who they enjoy working with and searching for similar applicants.
- Visiting job fairs to get applicants from college programs and the local community.
- Tracking current employees and determining if there are any who would work better on other shifts or during high-need times.
- Putting together an employee referral program.
- Focusing more on recruitment.
- Requesting feedback from those leaving employment to find out why.
- Considering different pay for those willing to work second shifts or over the weekend.
With so many options, there really isn’t a good reason for any nursing home to have too few workers. While funding does play a role, the reality is that any gap in workers could put the residents at risk of injuries or worse.
What can you do if your loved one’s nursing home is chronically understaffed?
If you’ve noticed that the nursing home seems to be chronically understaffed, that is something you should discuss with the nursing home’s director. They may be looking for candidates, but if they are not, then you should have a frank discussion about how the lack of care is impacting your loved one.
You may have a legal claim
If your loved one is hurt or passes away because of delays with care or mistakes by those not educated enough to provide it, then you could look into making a claim against the nursing home for medical malpractice or nursing home abuse.