Majority Of Nurses Fear For The Safety Of Their Patients

nurses.jpgEvery nursing home abuse case I get involved with ultimately boils down to problems with staffing— or simply an inadequate supply of it.  Particularly when dealing with a vulnerable group of patients in a nursing home or hospital, even minor errors can result in exceedingly complex medical complications.

While my impressions on staffing issues in nursing homes could be skewed by the type of cases that I work on, a recent study seems to reinforce my observations.  Straight from nurses’ mouth to patients’ ears— safety issues are a real problem facing patients in nursing home and hospitals.  A survey conducted of more than 600 nurses in the United Kingdom paints a picture of dangerous conditions that threaten the well-being of all patients.

Not surprisingly the majority of concerns center around: inadequate staffing levels, poor facility layout and negative attitudes of co-workers.  According to one of the survey respondents, the negative attitude stems from simply being overworked, “when you’re pulling every way to care for patients, your patience and tolerance can be affected.”

Echoing the trend, most survey respondents could identify how the staffing issues specifically translated to an incident involving patient harm or injury.  The most common errors include (from the 600 nurse survey):

  • Failure to monitor and respond to oxygen saturation- 131 episodes
  • Misidentification of patients- 77 times
  • Bedrail entrapment– 52 times
  • Misplaced feeding tubes– 50 occasions
  • Misadministration of insulin- 49 times
  • Severe scalding- 8 times

My take:

The nurses and front-line health care workers that I come into contact with always impress me with their true commitment to serving the patient.  Unfortunately, when nurses are pushed to the breaking point in terms of work loads and exceedingly burdensome staffing ratios, problems do arise.

Rather than heap all the fault on the nurses who are on duty at the time on an incident, more scrutiny should be placed on the managers and executives who impose such drastic working conditions.  Without extensive changes to improve staffing levels at nursing homes and hospital, I fear that many well-qualified people will be driven from their life-changing roles.

Related:

Failure To Keep Bed Elevated To Blame For Nursing Home Patient’s Death From Aspiration Pneumonia

Many Nursing Homes & Assisted Living Facilities Continue To Threaten The Safety Of Their Patients With The Use Of Bed Rails In Their Facilities

Nursing Homes Must Be Prepared To Handle Diabetic Patients

Study Demonstrates Correlation Between Under-Staffing & Incidence Of Infections In Nursing Homes

Nursing Home Problems Likely To Continue As Long Facilities Continue To Treat Staff Like Second Class Citizens

Justia Lawyer Rating for Jonathan Rosenfeld

Client Reviews

★★★★★
Jonathan did a great job helping my family navigate through a lengthy lawsuit involving my grandmother's death in a nursing home. Through every step of the case, Jonathan kept my family informed of the progression of the case. Although our case eventually settled at a mediation, I really was impressed at how well prepared Jonathan was to take the case to trial. Lisa
★★★★★
After I read Jonathan’s Nursing Home Blog, I decided to hire him to look into my wife’s treatment at a local nursing home. Jonathan did a great job explaining the process and the laws that apply to nursing homes. I immediately felt at ease and was glad to have him on my side. Though the lawsuit process was at times frustrating, Jonathan reassured me, particularly at my deposition. I really felt like Jonathan cared about my wife’s best interests, and I think that came across to the lawyers for the nursing home. Eric