In July 2020, the Texas Observer published an investigation that examined the staffing ratios of more than 1,200 nursing homes in Texas. It found that, among the for-profit facilities that serve 83% of the state’s nursing home residents, nearly all operate “well below the thresholds for adequate staffing determined by federal regulators.”
If you believe that your parent or spouse has been the victim of abuse or neglect, consider the value of teaming up with an Austin understaffing lawyer. At Pintas & Mullins Law Firm, we do not shy away from even the toughest of cases. A lawyer from our team can visit your loved one’s nursing home, speak with the facility’s care staff, and pursue financial recovery for your various damages.
We understand that the costs associated with your loved one’s treatment may presently put a strain on your financial resources. That is why we offer our legal aid on a contingency-fee-basis. You do not have to worry about paying us our attorney’s fees unless we secure a favorable outcome on your family’s behalf.
Call our team today at (800) 842-6336.
Nursing Home Residents’ Rights
Federal and state regulations protect nursing home residents from neglect. Specifically, 42 Code of Federal Regulations (CFR) §483.12 guarantees residents the right to be free from “abuse, neglect, and exploitation.” Furthermore, the statute prohibits nursing homes from hiring people with documented histories of abusive or neglectful behavior.
42 CFR §483.5 outlines the definition of neglect. Essentially, when a care facility fails to provide safe living conditions for its residents or prevent harm from befalling residents, it may violate both federal and state law.
Staffing shortages can lead to more than neglect. They can also lead to abuse. Overly stressed workers might lash out in anger, becoming verbally, or even physically abusive toward residents. They might not notice when one resident takes advantage of another resident either sexually or financially.
If nursing homes do not hire enough staff members to ensure their residents’ safety, they may be held liable for any damages that arise. If your loved one suffered harm because of a nursing home’s negligent hiring practices, consider teaming up with an Austin understaffing lawyer. When you get in touch with Pintas & Mullins Law Firm, our team will review your case and evaluate your legal options.
Minimum Staffing Ratios
The Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) has declined to establish minimum staffing ratios. However, the Texas Administrative Code §19.1001 does. This doctrine says that each nursing home must have an adequate amount of care staff to maintain the best possible quality of care for each resident.
- One registered nurse who works eight consecutive hours, seven days a week
- A full-time registered nurse who serves as head of nursing and who may only work as a charge nurse in facilities with 60 or fewer residents
However, the state may grant nursing homes a waiver if a facility says that they cannot “recruit appropriate personnel.” The state will only issue this waiver if they believe that this aspect will not affect the nursing home’s general operations and standard of care.
According to the Texas Observer, in 2019, more than half of all nursing homes had no registered nurse on their payroll at any point.
Texas Administrative Code §19.1002 requires each nursing home to have one licensed nurse for every 20 residents “or meet a ratio of .4 licensed-care hours per resident day.” This figure is determined by multiplying the number of licensed nurses by the number of hours they work in a day, then dividing the product by the number of residents.
Call Pintas & Mullins Law Firm today to learn more.
For a free legal consultation with a Understaffing Lawyer serving Austin, call (800) 794-0444
Recognizing the Signs of Neglect or Abuse
The U.S. Department of Justice (DOJ) lists the signs of elder abuse or neglect that you should look for. At Pintas & Mullins Law Firm, if you think that your loved one is in immediate danger, we encourage you to act quickly to protect their wellbeing. Although transferring to a new care facility is costly, your lawyer can take those figures into account when calculating the value of your claim.
Some signs of elder abuse include:
- Cuts and bruises
- Broken bones
- Untreated or poorly treated injuries
- Broken personal items, such as glasses or jewelry
- Poor hygiene or unkempt attire
- Sudden changes in mood
- Restricted visitations by the caregiver
- A resident’s dislike for certain staff
- A resident’s report of being mistreated
Additionally, some signs of neglect include:
- Dehydration, malnutrition, and untreated bedsores
- Untreated health problems
- Unsafe and dangerous living conditions
- Poorly cleaned and maintained living conditions
- A nursing home resident’s report of being neglected or abandoned
Any of these signs should prompt concern, and upon recognizing one of these signs, you should file a complaint with the facility. However, that may not be sufficient to get justice for your loved one or compensate them for what they have already suffered.
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Examples of Recoverable Nursing Home Damages
Texas does not limit the amount of economic or non-economic damages you may recover through an insurance claim or lawsuit.
Some compensable damages in your nursing home abuse case may include:
- The cost of moving to a new facility
- The cost of your loved one’s medical bills
- The cost of mental health counseling for your loved one
- Pain and suffering
- The cost of any missing, damaged, or stolen items
This is not an exhaustive or comprehensive list of damages.
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Get Started with the Pintas & Mullins Law Firm
Nursing homes have both a moral and legal responsibility to take care of their residents. When they fail, vulnerable seniors suffer. At Pintas & Mullins Law Firm, we believe that this is unacceptable. By contracting the services of an Austin understaffing lawyer, you can begin the process of recovering both compensation and justice for your elderly loved one.
You can begin a free case evaluation by calling (800) 842-6336.
Call or text (800) 794-0444 or complete a Free Case Evaluation form