Holding Negligent Nursing Homes Accountable for Resident Abuse

Resident's needs often get ignored, leading to severe injuries and illnesses when nursing homes fail to abide by state and federal staffing requirements. Stressed and hurried workers are likelier to abuse and neglect elderly residents in these facilities. Unfortunately, understaffing has become more of a rule than an exception in most nursing homes, leading to an increased risk of patient abuse and neglect. If your elderly loved one has been neglected or abused due to understaffing, the excellent and dependable nursing home abuse attorney in San Antonio at the Law Offices of Glenn W. Cunningham can hold the negligent staff, nursing home owners, and managers liable for damages.

Widespread Problem of Understaffing in Texas Nursing Homes

More than 70% of nursing homes in Texas are for-profit entities. The facility owners and management teams believe that their profit bottom line can be increased by keeping staffing levels low and salaries down. Turnover is high in the industry because of low wages and inadequate benefits. Overworked, stressed, and poorly motivated employees in these facilities are tasked with providing care to elderly residents with inadequate resources. 

Many nursing homes have difficulty finding certified and trained staff. They attempt to make up the difference by offering overtime to their existing employees. While there is more money involved in overtime, it also leads to burnout. In certain Texas nursing homes, employees end up working 12-hour shifts. 

Nursing home neglect and abuse is often the direct result of overworked and stressed employees that are unable to deal with the increased workload. The staff-to-resident ratio is not mandated by Medicare, which means the employees are often left scrambling to keep up with their multiple caregiving duties.

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Consequences of Understaffed Nursing Homes

Nursing homes risk serious and fatal consequences by employing too few people to look after an aging and vulnerable population. A few of the more common injuries include:

  • Dehydration
  • Falls
  • Medication errors
  • Poor infection control
  • Hygiene issues
  • Bedsores
  • Lack of sanitation
  • Malnutrition

Most of these injuries are preventable with dedicated care and attention. Family members and friends should keep an eye out for subtle mental and physical changes while visiting their elderly loved ones. A relatively minor issue can quickly escalate into a severe problem with fatal repercussions if not managed properly. 

Overburdened and tired staff is also more likely to use physical and chemical restraints on residents. Physical, verbal, and passive abuse may become the norm at the nursing home facility as well. This includes allowing the resident to remain in soiled clothes, providing inadequate food and water, or not changing the bedding. Many seniors suffer from dementia, which can cause them to behave aggressively. An untrained or exhausted staff member is at a higher risk of losing their temper when faced with an uncooperative or slow resident. 

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Nursing Home Staffing Laws in Texas

Nursing home staffing regulations have been detailed within the National Consumer Voice for Quality Long-Term Care, in line with The Nursing Home Reform Act. Title 40 of the Texas Administrative Code (TAC) has provided staff guidelines, in addition to federal standards. It requires all nursing homes to have a:

  • Director of nursing that works 40 hours in a week
  • Designated charge nurse for every shift
  • Sufficient staff to meet the acuity care needs of the residents

If the nursing home or elder home facility where your loved one suffered an illness or injury did not maintain adequate staff, an experienced understaffing attorney can help you seek justice and compensation for your loved one.

Statutes of Limitations in Texas for Nursing Home Abuse Cases

Victims of nursing home neglect and abuse or their families can file a claim against the responsible facility within a certain time period, known as the statute of limitations. In Texas, you have up to two years to file a claim as per Texas Civil Practice and Remedies Code §74.251.

If you lost a loved one owing to neglect and abuse because the nursing home was understaffed, you have up to two years from the date of the alleged negligent act/omission to file a wrongful death claim. You should consult with Glenn W. Cunningham, an experienced nursing home abuse attorney, without delay so that he can determine the time left on the statute of limitations and get started on your case right away. 

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Our Top-Rated Nursing Home Abuse Attorney in Texas is Dedicated to Getting Justice for Your Loved One

If your loved one has suffered from neglect or abuse as a result of inadequate staffing in a nursing home facility, the seasoned attorney at the Law Offices of Glenn W. Cunningham can file a claim and pursue maximum compensation on your loved one’s behalf. 

Glenn W. Cunningham, the founding medical malpractice lawyer, has an outstanding track record of helping vulnerable clients obtain large settlements and verdicts over the past 30 years. Schedule your free case review today. Call our office to speak with our team or contact us online.  

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