Lack of proper skills and training for staff and caretakers in nursing home facilities puts residents at a higher risk for abuse and neglect. When staff members are not adequately trained about the facility’s procedures and policies, how to manage specific medical conditions, how to reduce the risk for falls and other hazards, or how to respond in an emergency, residents can be injured or killed because of the facility’s negligence.
Elderly people in nursing home facilities are particularly vulnerable due to their dependencies related to cognitive and/or functional self-care challenges. Many residents need help with the most basic functions like eating, bathing, dressing, standing, and sitting. Others have medical conditions that require special types of care. Although many facilities provide good care, nursing home abuse and neglect often occurs because staff members are not educated about how to appropriately manage the needs of their residents. In fact, lack of proper staff training and inadequate supervision of employees and residents are some of the leading causes of abuse and neglect.
Cutting Costs Puts Residents in Danger
Many nursing home facilities cut costs by hiring untrained, inexperienced employees who are willing to work for minimum wage, according to a nursing home neglect lawyer. To reduce costs even further, many hire the bare minimum number of employees possible, so facilities are often under-staffed. This combination of under-trained, underpaid caregivers and under-staffed facilities puts residents at greater risks of harm from unsanitary conditions, malnutrition and dehydration, bedsores, and injuries from falls, as well as abuse and neglect by untrained, overworked caretakers.
Under state and federal laws, nursing homes owe a duty of care to residents to ensure that their basic needs are met. Failure to provide safe housing and proper care is considered to be a form of abuse or neglect. According to Illinois and federal laws, nursing home employees and staff can be held liable for abuse and neglect for failure to provide residents with proper shelter, proper hygiene, clean and sanitary clothing, and protection from health and safety hazards.
Each year, the Illinois Department of Public Health (IDPH) responds to approximately 6,000 complaints and conducts over 1,300 on-site inspections to evaluate nursing home staff, facility equipment, procedural policies, and finances.