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How Understaffing Reduces the Quality of Care in NYC Nursing Homes

understaffing reduces quality of care in nyc nursing homesUnderstaffing in nursing homes is a true emergency in facilities around the country. The residents who rely on staff members to care for their physical and medical needs suffer when there’s not enough nursing staff to care for each one adequately. Eventually, understaffing in nursing homes leads to severe injuries or death.

In New York, there is no law limiting the staff-to-resident ratio at nursing homes, and staff members are frequently overburdened with dozens of high-needs residents they can’t possibly manage alone. Because of the lack of mandates restricting how many residents nursing home staff members can care for, this problem can go unbridled. If you’re considering a nursing home facility for your loved one, understanding the staffing situation at the nursing home you choose will help protect them from neglect and abuse.  

Why is Understaffing an Issue in Nursing Home Facilities?

The devastating consequences that can occur in nursing homes because of understaffing is widely underreported. Nursing home facilities are often under immense pressure to cut costs to suit low budgets. As a result, nursing homes take in more residents than their staff can adequately look after. At times, one nurse or medical professional will have dozens of unwell residents to care for—an impossible task for even the most adept nurse.


The danger that understaffed nursing homes present is that residents may be severely injured or even harmed to the point of death by neglect or abuse. Nursing home abuse often includes:

  • Physical injuries
  • Financial exploitation
  • Psychological trauma


It is vital for families to check the staff-to-resident ratios at nursing home facilities they’re considering for their loved ones; this cannot be overstated. The one you choose to house and care for the medical needs of your elderly loved one should have enough staff members to suitably attend to each resident.

Is It Illegal to Understaff Nursing Homes in New York?

In New York, more than 17,000 people reside in nursing homes. Sadly, there are no mandates to restrict the number of residents that nursing staff and medical team members may care for. Because no federal laws are requiring a limited staff-to-resident ratio, this issue affects the whole country. Unfortunately, New York ranks particularly low compared to other states on gauging the number of staff hours per resident each day. In some instances, one staff member may care for 18 residents, and other times, they might be charged with 28 residents.


Richard Mollot, executive director at the nonprofit Long Term Care Community Coalition, said in an investigative report with WIVB 4 in Buffalo, New York:


“Staffing is by far the most important factor when it comes to a nursing home’s quality and a nursing home’s safety. We’ve known for many, many years that nursing homes … are understaffed. And New York has consistently in the data that I’ve reviewed over the years has been in the bottom 20 percent of the country in terms of staffing levels.” 


Understaffing at nursing home facilities will continue to be a danger to the residents who trust the facility to care for them.

What Effects Does Understaffing in Nursing Homes Have on Residents Who Live There?

When nursing home staff becomes overburdened with an excess of residents who need their help to perform necessary daily activities, residents may be neglected and abused. That might result in:

  • Medication errors
  • Physical injuries 
  • Psychological concerns
  • Deteriorating illnesses
  • Death


Families trust nursing homes with their loved ones because they’re unable to provide the medical care their family members need. When nursing home residents are neglected, abused, and suffer from understaffing in a place where they’re supposed to receive high-quality care, negligent facilities must be held responsible.

What Measures Are Being Taken to Address Understaffing in Nursing Homes?

Some state governments are contemplating laws that require nursing home facilities to keep a certain number of staff members for each resident that would also apply to hospitals. Other local governments and regulatory agencies are becoming more involved in managing nursing home facilities to ensure residents receive proper care.

Until legislation is passed, most states depend on fines and civil penalties to keep standards in nursing home facilities high and residents safe. Unfortunately, these penalties often aren’t stringent enough to alter the conduct or staffing policies of negligent facilities.

Contact Experienced Nursing Home Abuse Lawyers in New York for a Free Consultation

It’s unfortunate that not all nursing homes care about our loved ones’ wellbeing and are instead more concerned with their profits. If you or a loved one has been the victim of nursing home neglect or abuse due to understaffing or other reasons, the nursing home abuse lawyers at Dalli & Marino, LLP want to help.

Since 1996, Dalli & Marino, LLP has been representing clients in New York to help them recover from elderly abuse and negligence. Our seniors deserve the highest-quality care. Don’t let nursing homes profit while mistreating our elderly loved ones. Contact Dalli & Marino, LLP to speak with a seasoned nursing home abuse lawyer about your situation over a free consultation. Call 888-465-8790 or complete a contact form.

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