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Understaffing can lead to neglect in Maryland nursing homes

As our parents age, we start to see a role reversal in which the children now become the care takers. While a majority of our Upper Marlboro readers would be happy to provide this care to their aging loved ones, conflicting priorities and a need to maintain your own income can lead you to one inevitable reality: you may need to put your mother or father in a nursing home.

Thanks to the Baby Boomer generation though, more and more people are filtering into nursing homes all across the nation. In fact, according to the most recent numbers from the Centers for Disease Control, 1.4 million people are currently living in nursing homes across the country. Because the demand for long-term health care is growing, you'd think the market would be flooded with staff. Unfortunately, in many states, this isn't the case and many nursing homes remain woefully understaffed as a result of the shortage.

When nursing homes are understaffed, those who provide care to residents oftentimes do not have enough time needed to provide a high level of care. Despite being good people, workers may unintentionally neglect residents, leading to a resident's worsening health condition and even possible death.

Those who do make an effort to stay on top of their duties and provide a high quality of care are often overworked and left feeling exhausted. Prolonged exposure to fatigue can be an emotional drain, leading to a drop in moral that may lead to the unintentional harsh treatment of residents, which may constitute a form of abuse.

If nursing homes want to make sure that they are providing the best care possible to our loved ones, then they need to consider the serious impact understaffing can have on employees and the residents who live in their facilities. If not, then a nursing home opens itself up to charges of neglect or abuse, which can then lead to civil litigation later on.

Sources: The Centers for Disease Control, "Nursing Home Care," Accessed Nov. 10, 2015, "Litigating Nursing Home Malpractice," Steven M. Levin and John M. Rushing, 2008

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