By hiring inexperienced, under-trained staff, nursing homes reduce general overhead costs. Although lower operational costs increase business profits, under-trained staff members contribute to higher health risks for nursing home residents.
Under-Trained Staff Create Health Risks
Family members who are looking for safe, caring living environments for elderly loved ones place great emphasis on choosing the right nursing home facility. Since proper care is the main focus, many people don’t think about nursing homes as for-profit businesses with costly operational expenses. General overhead, maintenance, and payroll expenses for nursing homes are costly, so many facilities cut costs by hiring untrained, inexperienced employees who are willing to work for minimum wage. To reduce costs even further, many nursing homes hire the bare minimum number of employees, so facilities are often also under-staffed.
The combination of under-trained, underpaid caregivers and under-staffed facilities creates a dangerous environment for nursing home residents. Placing incompetent staff in charge of elderly residents who need continuous care causes residents to face a higher risk of health care problems, unsanitary conditions, and personal injuries from neglect and abuse. A nursing home neglect lawyer often sees bruises, broken bones, infections, bedsores, malnutrition, dehydration, and missed medications as a result of neglect by nursing home caregivers and staff members.
Duty to Protect Residents
A nursing home has a duty to protect its residents by providing a safe and caring environment. This includes hiring trained, competent professionals who are qualified to provide proper care. If a nursing home fails in its duty to protect residents by hiring under-trained, incompetent, or unfit employees, the nursing home can be held liable for harm caused to residents.
Federal and state laws require nursing homes to conduct employee background checks before hiring administrators or employees. Employee background checks help to screen out employees that show potential for neglect and abuse by revealing any history of theft and/or violence. Federal laws prohibit nursing homes from hiring employees that have been found guilty of violence or neglect, but state or FBI criminal background checks are not mandatory. To keep costs down, many nursing homes perform only minimum background checks, and rarely do criminal background checks.
If a nursing home employee is accused of neglect or abuse, an investigation must be done. If the investigation reveals that the facility’s negligence in performing background checks resulted in hiring an employee with a history of abuse, the nursing home can be held liable for damages.