Five ways the nursing shortage is affecting the elderly

Brooke believes a shortage of nurses is affecting care of the elderly

By Brooke Stafford

IT IS no secret that there is a shortage of qualified medical personnel, and nurses are no exception.

One segment of the population that is hardest hit by the shortage is the aging and elderly population.

Below, are just five ways the nursing shortage is affecting the care of our parents and grandparents.

Too many patients – Because there are fewer nurses to go around, they often take on more patients than they can effectively handle.

This means that nurses have less time to get to know their patients, their conditions, medications, and other important information, which can lead to:

More mistakes – If your nurse doesn’t know one patient from the next, it can be easy to confuse treatments, drugs, and more.

These medical mistakes can also mean longer stays for seniors and even higher mortality rates.

More falls – While in a health care facility, falling is one of the most common ways seniors injure themselves.

Even if the elderly patient calls for a nurse, the wait might be so long that they get up themselves and end up hurting themselves.

Quicker discharge – Ever feel as if you’re being rushed out of a hospital or other health care facility?  The nursing shortage might be to blame.

In fact, nurses have been known to report that only one third of them feel confident that patients can take care of themselves after being released.

Quality drop – This is perhaps the most dangerous way the nursing shortage is affecting the elderly.

Because of fewer nurses and more patients, the quality work is bound to suffer in addition to the fulfillment nurses feel when doing their jobs, which is likely lead to a further drop in the number of qualified nurses in the health fields.


Brooke Stafford is a nursing practitioner student and also writes for Family Nurse Practitioner Degrees.   The site helps students find the right nurse practitioner degree to fit their needs.