Understaffing in Colorado Nursing Homes

Understaffing in nursing homes has reached historic numbers, leaving residents to pay the price. With every resident suffering from a range of conditions, they can’t afford to go hours without attention due to a nursing home’s staffing issue.

Nursing Home Justice, led by attorney Mac Hester, knows how to investigate your case to find who’s liable and help your loved one recover from the abuse they endured. Tell us your story, and we can guide you through your recovery journey. Contact a nursing home abuse attorney today at (303) 775-8128.

What Are the Causes of Understaffed Nursing Homes?

Understaffing in nursing homes is a long-running issue that recently came to light amid the Covid-19 pandemic. Now, nursing homes face a crisis as more than 2,000 nurses have fled the industry entirely in Colorado. Despite these unprecedented circumstances, there are many other reasons why nursing homes lack the support they need, including the following:

Cost of Labor

Nursing homes are run by management companies put in place by private equity firms that have one thing in mind: profit. With minimal staff on duty, these firms limit salary payout and boost their bottom line.

Overtime Pay

When staff members work beyond their regular hours, they get paid for overtime at a higher rate. This gives staff an incentive to work long hours. However, these long hours sacrifice quality care, and overworked nurses are more likely to neglect or abuse residents.

With more nurses covering multiple shifts for overtime pay, nursing homes remain understaffed, and other qualified nurses don’t get hired to distribute the workload.

High Turnover

Understaffed nursing homes typically deal with high turnover, creating a vicious cycle within the industry since nurses working in these conditions often feel unsupported, overwhelmed, and quit. So, not only is high turnover a cause of understaffing in nursing homes but a result of it as well. The Bureau of Labor Statistics reported that 229,000 caregivers had left their nursing home careers since February 2020.

What Are the Effects of Short-Staffing Nursing Homes?

Without adequate staff, nursing homes compromise their patients’ safety, and this could result in the following:

  • Residents with cognitive disabilities like dementia or Alzheimer’s wandering off or leaving the facility
  • Residents with mobility issues not receiving routine bathroom breaks
  • Residents not being repositioned in their beds to avoid bed sores and other infections
  • Patients falling and waiting hours before their caregiver’s notice
  • Staff members attempt to pick up residents by themselves rather than having another nurse assist them, which results in dropping the patient

Is Understaffing in Nursing Homes Illegal?

Chapter 7.3.2 of The Code of Colorado Regulations states that a nursing care facility should be staffed with at least one registered nurse. However, Chapter 7.3.4 further clarifies this requirement, stating that the facility must provide sufficient nurse staffing to care for each resident for at least 2 hours per day. So, this number could be different depending on the nursing home’s size.

Understaffed nursing home cases have become so prevalent that Washington vowed to make changes. The Biden administration proposed rules to ensure quality care in nursing homes nationwide that included minimum staffing requirements.

If your or your loved one’s nursing home is understaffed, and the residents suffer significant damages, you could file a lawsuit against them to recover from your damages.

 How to Report Understaffed Nursing Homes

If you suspect your or your loved one’s nursing home is understaffed, you should report it immediately in one of the following ways:

  • File a Complaint – You could go to the Colorado Department of Public Health & Environment’s website and file a complaint against the nursing home.
  • Contact Your Local Ombudsman – Your local Ombudsman could investigate the nursing home to help determine if they violated your or your loved one’s residents’ rights
  • Call Nursing Home Justice – Understaffed nursing homes cause severe harm to residents. Let Nursing Home Justice investigate your case and hold the nursing home accountable.