Understaffed Kentucky Nursing Homes Endanger Elderly

According to federal data analyzed by Kaiser Health News, more than 7 in 10 nursing homes nationwide are considered to be understaffed – and given that more than 14,000 submitted payroll records over the last year, this represents nearly 10,000 homes without adequate personnel. Even with these startling numbers at the national level, Kentucky residents face a higher risk at nursing homes than most: The U.S. Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services estimates more than 43% of Kentucky nursing homes rated “below average” or “much below average” in care.

Understaffing is one of the top reasons your loved one may experience nursing home abuse, as the elderly require a high level of attention and care throughout the day in order to be comfortable and avoid deadly infections, pressure wounds, and falls. When nursing homes don’t have the proper staff to help their residents, the potential for nursing home neglect and abuse only increases. In this post, our nursing home abuse lawyers at Hare, Wynn, Newell & Newton cover a few of the outcomes when a nursing home is understaffed, and how you can hold the right parties accountable if it happens to your loved one.


Government and third-party agencies recommend that the average nursing home resident receive at least an hour of care every day from registered nurses, with an additional 2 hours and 45 minutes of care from nursing aides at minimum. Kentucky falls far below this recommendation, with some nursing homes only able to provide 15 daily minutes of care from a registered nurse. While some residents may be able to continue on comfortably with such minimal care, even small oversights can be deadly for those who live with more serious conditions, or who are less able to monitor themselves.

Some possible consequences of nursing home understaffing include:

  • Abuse from overstressed staff. When there aren’t enough people to handle daily tasks, the nursing home staff may become susceptible to stress. Unfortunately, some may take it out on the residents, whether by using excessive force or becoming impatient with their charges. If you suspect your loved one is being mentally, sexually, or emotionally abused, contact legal counsel immediately.
  • Neglect of daily hygiene needs. Because many nursing home residents cannot shower or move on their own, they need constant attention from caregivers to maintain proper bodily hygiene. When there aren’t enough caregivers to go around, small sores or infections can quickly turn into sepsis, blood poisoning, or organ failure.
  • Decreased mobility. Patients who already experience limited mobility may suffer more from a lack of caregiving: Daily occupational therapy exercises are often the only way to prevent muscle stiffness and eventually atrophy.
  • Psychological and mental trauma. Nursing home residents can become very lonely throughout the day, making social interaction an absolute necessity to maintain good general health. When there are too few nursing home attendants to properly socialize with residents, residents may suffer from depression, anxiety, paranoia, and a host of other serious mental disorders.


Regardless of how difficult it can be to staff nursing homes, these organizations are legally liable for the health, safety, and security of their residents. You may have spent valuable time and money on securing the right nursing home, and ensuring your family member or friend would find comfort there. If they do become hurt as a result of negligence and/or cruelty on part of the staff, you may be able to fight for financial compensation.

At Hare Wynn, our aggressive Birmingham injury law firm understands how stressful and painful it can be to watch your loved one suffer in silence. For more than a hundred years, our attorneys have served as the voice for those who can no longer speak for themselves, fighting back against abusive and negligent treatment through the civil court system. Find out how we can help with your case today.

Has your loved one been hurt? Contact our Kentucky and Alabama-based nursing home abuse lawyers at 800-568-5330 for a free consultation.

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