You’ve heard enough horror stories about subpar care in the nation’s nursing homes to be wary about putting your mother or father in one without doing a bit of investigation first. So, you visit home after home looking for potential warning signs.
You find one home where the staff is definitely on their feet and active. In fact, it seems like everybody is quite busy attending to patient needs. Is this a good sign?
Probably not. A frantically busy staff is just one of the warning signs that a nursing care facility is actually performing below their peak. It usually is a signal that the staff shortage is severe.
It’s true that not all staff shortages are a sign of serious problems. Someone could be out sick when you happen to visit. There could be a few staff members on summer vacation, which means that everyone else is scrambling to pick up the slack. Maybe there’s just been a sudden influx in residents and the facility simply hasn’t had time to hire new people or train new hires yet.
However, the most likely reason for a harried, overly busy staff is simply that the facility’s administration is more concerned about the company profits than they are the quality of life of the people who live in those nursing homes. Hiring more staff members would cut into the company’s bottom line.
If you see nursing home aides rushing from room to room and nobody seems to have the time to take a break, give you a tour or sit with a resident during the day, be mindful of the fact that it’s usually worse at nigh. Then, staffing levels are typically even lower. That can easily lead to disorganized care efforts, mistreatment of the residents and nursing home neglect.