Since the first serious COVID-19 outbreak in a nursing home facility in Washington State, nursing home and long-term care facilities have been under the microscope for their handling of coronavirus cases in their populations. That attention is important. However, the focus on COVID-19 belies the fact that resident safety in nursing homes and other long-term care facilities has long been a problem, and will likely continue to be in the future.

Most nursing homes were understaffed before the pandemic, and the staffing situation has only gotten worse. A nursing home is a difficult place to work, and because compensation at these facilities tends to be meager, nursing home administrators have difficulty finding quality candidates to fill open positions. Facilities that are understaffed have to cut back somewhere, and that often means that the residents experience neglect.

Neglect, such as failing to turn bed-ridden patients at least every two hours, failing to ensure that residents receive proper nourishment, and failing to keep walking areas clean, which can lead to falls, may leave the facility open to a legal claim by a resident or the resident’s family.

For more information on the types of neglect residents may experience, and the process of making a claim against a nursing home facility, read this article.