Under Monitoring of Nursing Home Patients

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South Carolina has hundreds of nursing homes. Thousands of seniors and other people live in these homes. (SCDHEC, Aging Research, and Statistics). For these residents and their families, the care they receive is extremely important.

At the core of proper nursing home care is resident monitoring.

Inadequate monitoring of nursing home patients is a greater problem than ever before. 14% of caregivers have quit the industry since February 2020. (AHCA, Historic Staffing Shortages). This shortage leaves some patients struggling to find placement. Patients in homes and their families are left to worry if they will have the care and attention they need.

Under monitoring in nursing homes may amount to neglect. It may result in physical and emotional harm for patients.

What is under monitoring in a nursing home?

Under monitoring in a nursing home occurs when a resident does not receive the attention that they need. The necessary amount of monitoring must account for the patient’s characteristics, like their degree of independence and routine care needs.

Signs a Nursing Home Is Understaffed

Here are some signs that a nursing home is understaffed:

  • Long response times when a person summons help
  • Phones that ring without being answered
  • Poor personal hygiene among residents
  • Lack of socialization and freedom of movement
  • Soiled sheets or clothing
  • Signs of dehydration, malnutrition, and bedsores
  • High infection rates within the facility
  • Complaints about one or a small number of workers
  • A lack of transparency when accidents and incidents occur
  • Not seeing many staff members in the facility

Understaffing can take many different forms. It can be a chronic problem or there may be a single circumstance where understaffing occurs. Whatever the cause, it can pose a danger for residents.

What are the consequences of under-monitoring in a nursing home?

There may be many different consequences of under-monitoring in a nursing home. The following may occur:

  • Poor personal hygiene
  • Infections that spread throughout the home
  • Frequent falls
  • Depression and mental health decline
  • Minor health problems that grow into something larger
  • Social isolation
  • Emotional abuse of residents
  • One resident harming another
  • Malnutrition, physical weakness
  • Costs for medical care that could have been minimized

Under monitoring in a nursing home can hurt residents physically and emotionally. A problem may happen in a single incident, or issues may be chronic.

Why does short staffing occur in nursing homes?

Nursing homes may be short-staffed for many reasons, including:

  • The amount of training required to become a nurse or skilled worker
  • A facility trying to save on labor costs
  • Emotional fatigue associated with caregiving
  • Wages that are not competitive for the area
  • Sparsely populated areas that do not have a large employment base
  • High turnover that results from overscheduling working employees
  • Inadequate recruiting and hiring

Reasons for understaffing in nursing homes may vary among different facilities. Of course, nursing homes have an obligation to provide adequate monitoring. When they don’t, they may be legally liable for harm that results to a resident.

Do South Carolina nursing homes have minimum staffing requirements?

Yes. Section 600 – Staff and Training of Regulation 61-17 – Standards for Licensing Nursing Homes establishes minimum staffing requirements for licensed care facilities in the State of South Carolina. These regulations establish minimum requirements for staff, often calling for an “adequate number” to meet the needs of residents and provide services. In addition, there are minimum requirements for resident-to-staff ratios.

Is under monitoring in a nursing home neglect?

Under monitoring in a nursing home is neglect. The care facility has a duty to provide adequate care. When monitoring is poor, they have not met their duty to provide adequate care.

Can there be legal liability for under-monitoring in a nursing home?

Yes. When under-monitoring results in harm to a resident, the nursing home may be legally liable. Harm may occur in the form of an accident, like a fall. It may also be neglect that results from a lack of routine care or failing to notice a problem or health condition. The nursing home may be liable to pay financial compensation to victims.

How Our Law Firm Can Help

If you have concerns about the care that you or a loved one has received in a nursing home, we invite you to contact our law firm. We are experienced, caring professionals and your consultation is confidential. Contact us today.

The team at Bobby Jones Law LLC works tirelessly for the injured in South Carolina. His achievements include:
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