Whether you are looking for a nursing home in SC to move your loved one into or currently have a relative living in a facility in Greenville, SC, it is extremely important that you pay close attention to the staffing levels at the facility or prospective home. Some things you will want to ask yourself when assessing this include:
- Are there enough employees working during both the day and night shift to provide adequate care to the number of residents that live there?
- Do you see call lights going off for several minutes without being answered when you visit the home?
- Is your loved one missing meals or not being bathed regularly?
- Has your relative gotten hurt or fallen as a result of them being unsupervised?
The fact is, there are many nursing home facilities that are understaffed, meaning there aren’t enough staff members available to properly provide care to the number of residents that are living there. When a facility is understaffed, a number of things can occur. Some include:
- Residents are not properly monitored. When there isn’t anyone around to supervise residents, especially those that need assistance with walking, they tend to attempt to move on their own which puts them at risk of falling and suffering a serious or life-threatening injury.
- Residents become more susceptible to developing bedsores. Bedsores, also referred to as pressure ulcers, “are injuries to [the] skin and underlying tissue [caused by] prolonged pressure on the skin” [Source: Mayo Clinic]. Residents who are bedridden or limited in their physical abilities need to be moved several times throughout the day to prevent the development of a pressure ulcer. However, when there aren’t enough nurses or healthcare workers on duty to do this, these residents are left sitting in the same position for extended periods of time.
- Resident-on-resident abuse. There are some nursing home residents who suffer from dementia or other medical conditions that cause them to become aggressive and violent. When they aren’t being monitored by the staff, they sometimes take their anger and frustration out on those around them causing innocent residents to suffer injuries.
- Residents are neglected. When the resident to staff ratio is too high, many go unbathed, unchanged, and sometimes are forced to go without food or water. This not only causes the residents who are subjected to these conditions to develop bad hygiene, but it also puts them at risk of becoming malnourished and dehydrated.
Now that you are aware of why staffing levels are so important, here are the staff to resident ratios South Carolina Code 44-7-262 states facilities must meet:
- Nursing homes are required to provide at a minimum a resident-staff ratio for staff who provide nursing care of one for every nine residents during all shifts [Source: South Carolina Legislature]. While some facilities operate with only two shifts (i.e. a night and day shift), others work with three. They are as follows:
- Shift 1- This shift is usually during daytime hours and lasts from about 7:00 a.m. to 3:00 p.m.
- Shift 2- This shift includes both daytime and evening hours and lasts from about 3:00 p.m. to 11:00 p.m.
- Shift 3- This shift occurs primarily during the nighttime hours and lasts from about 11:00 p.m. to 7:00 a.m.
[Source: South Carolina Code 44-7-262].
Now, these are only the minimum requirements which means if there are more residents, there should be more staff members available to tend to and provide care to those living there. Sadly, many facilities choose not to hire beyond what the state requires it to have which often results in residents being neglected.
If your loved one is living in a nursing home in Greenville, SC and they have been abused or neglected by a staff member or another resident, contact a SC nursing home abuse attorney to discuss the situation. The nursing home abuse lawyers at Churdar Law Firm can clarify for you what your loved one’s rights are and how they can help them exercise them if they are being mistreated. To get connected with an attorney now who is prepared to help you, call this firm at 864-233-0203.
Churdar Law Firm is located at:
304 Pettigru Street
Greenville, SC 29601