Understaffing and Compassion Fatigue in St. Louis Nursing Homes

Understaffing and Compassion Fatigue in St. Louis Nursing Homes

One common aspect of all nursing homes that do not treat their residents with the respect and care they deserve is understaffing and compassion fatigue. When a nursing home’s management does not address the needs of residents and place monetary gain over all, understaffing occurs and compassion fatigue festers.

Understaffing in Nursing Homes Leads to Accidents

Because some nursing homes seek to place the dollar over the respect of residents, understaffing becomes commonplace. As a result of the large resident population, staffers are unable to attend to every need, even if these needs are relatively simple. Staff become quickly overworked and burn out. One remedy to this is to hire more staff. However, many nursing homes refuse to do so, even when faced with the need.

For example, if a resident needs help to get up and use the bathroom, but the staff is unable to address this one resident’s need, that resident ends up soiling themselves. Residents may try to get up on their own, and then they end up falling and breaking a hip. However, it all tracks back to staffing, or the lack thereof.

Compassion Fatigue

When staffers are overworked, basic human function becomes hard. Facility staff may forget or not have the emotional wherewithal to check on residents. This is called “compassion fatigue”. Everyone has a limit for which they can offer another person. This creates an environment where staff cannot succeed in taking care of those they need to.

For example, when some residents need encouragement to eat, staff with compassion fatigue may be unable to provide that simple reassurance because of the lack of energy they themselves have. This is unacceptable, but it may not always be the staff’s fault. If a nursing home is requiring a staff member to work more than they have the emotional capability for, that could constitute negligence. Even if the hours of staffers are within the bounds of the law, without enough staff members on hand, they could become fatigued.

Work with an Attorney Who Cares

When management of residential nursing homes fail to address the needs of staff and, by consequence, fail to meet the needs of residents, they could be held liable in a court of law. Instead of having your trust discarded by a nursing home facility, work with one of our experienced trial lawyers who can help.

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