When you visit your loved one in a nursing home, does it take forever for you to find a staff member if you have a question? Do you feel like the residents are just wandering around the home with no one to help them? When your loved one pulls the assistance cord or rings the bell, does it take ages for anyone to show up?

In many cases, nursing homes are understaffed. They simply do not have enough workers on the payroll to get the job done. They may constantly have too few workers, and then they don’t have anyone on call to cover shifts when needed. If someone gets sick or doesn’t show up for their shift, it is pure chaos for the employees who are there.

This often leads to neglect. It’s not necessarily the workers’ fault. There just aren’t enough of them. No matter how badly they want to do a good job and assist all of the residents, they can’t get it done. They wind up frazzled, exhausted and frustrated, but they still know that people are going without critical care.

For this reason, it’s important not to get angry with the workers when you see signs of neglect. Remember that it may be out of their hands. While willful nursing home neglect does happen — along with abuse — that’s not always the case.

That does not mean it’s acceptable. Those who own and run the nursing home are doing your loved one a disservice. You need to know about all of the legal rights you have.