How Understaffing Affects Nursing Home Residents

How understaffing affects nursing home residents  is contributed by Walton Law in September, 2023, as an online article at

Understanding affects nursing home residents

One of the main reasons for moving your loved one into a nursing home may be that they need a level of care and supervision they simply can’t get at home. However, the care they need may be undermined by understaffing.

Unfortunately, understaffing in nursing homes is a common problem throughout the United States, including Whatcom, Skagit and Island counties. Continue reading to learn how the resident-to-staff ratio can impact the quality of care in local nursing homes.

Immobile residents

Since many nursing home residents have difficulty moving independently, they rely heavily on staff for help. Understaffing can lead to staff members being unable to turn a resident in bed enough times or to reposition them to avoid muscle atrophy or bed sores. Immobility can also lead to skin infections and falls, which can result in even more serious injuries.

Neglect of nursing home residents

Nursing home neglect can occur when a facility is understaffed. When a nursing home does not have enough nurses and nursing assistants to care for its residents, the staff they do have is likely overworked and suffering from fatigue. Because of this, residents may not receive the amount of attention that they deserve; problems can arise with the residents’ meals, therapies and medication schedules. The consequences of this type of neglect can result in malnutrition, dehydration and medication errors.

Abuse of nursing home residents

When understaffing conditions are present in a nursing home, the stress can create an environment where abuse by a care provider is more likely to occur. Stressed workers may have less patience when providing care to a resident, possibly even lashing out at them. When a nursing home is understaffed, a resident may feel insecure and uncomfortable talking about their needs and care for fear of being dismissed, disciplined or made to feel like their care needs are a burden to staff.

Nursing home resident to staff ratio data

You have the right to see a nursing home’s resident to staff data. If you are choosing a nursing home and the admissions team is reluctant to share that information, you should consider another facility. If your loved one is already living in a nursing home in Washington State and you’re worried that understaffing has led to their mistreatment, talk to the nursing home administrator, and ask to see their current resident-to-staff data.

Talk to a nursing home attorney about understaffing in nursing homes

When families make the decision to transition a loved one into a nursing home, they put their trust in the administrators and the staff to create a safe and comfortable environment with enough staff to accommodate residents’ physical and emotional needs. Walton Law’s nursing home neglect attorneys can help victims of intentional understaffing at nursing homes. 

Visit or call (360) 503-0231 for a free and confidential consultation.

Walton Law, APC
Washington Office

Bookmark the permalink.

Comments are closed.