When your parent or elder loved one moves into a nursing home, you may feel relieved knowing that the person you love is going to have regular care and supervision. However, many nursing homes across Tennessee and the nation struggle to maintain adequate staff. When nursing homes do not have enough workers, the quality of care those homes provide suffers as a result.

Per PBS, nursing home understaffing is a rampant problem across the nation, with a review of about 14,000 nursing home payroll records showing how problematic nursing home understaffing actually is.

Understaffing statistics

The review of the payroll records of about 14,000 nursing homes revealed that seven out of every 10 of them had lower staffing levels than they reported to the government. Furthermore, since 2014, health inspectors across the United States have cited one out of every eight nursing homes for not maintaining adequate staff. The problem appears to be particularly severe on weekends. Some residents and family members report that their nursing homes, or that their loved one’s nursing homes, look like “ghost towns” on weekends.

Understaffing risks

Your loved one may suffer most when his or her nursing home lacks adequate staff. If your loved one needs mobility help, understaffing makes it harder for him or her to get that help when it becomes necessary. Nursing home falls often increase when facilities lack adequate staff, and the chances of your loved one or other immobile residents developing bedsores also increase under these conditions.

Before placing a parent or other loved one in a specific nursing home, consider asking about its staff-to-resident ratio and how much turnover there is among staff members.