At first glance, nursing home understaffing may not seem like a significant problem. However, understaffing a nursing home is a form of elder abuse, which has become a serious problem in every state. Research shows that understaffing nursing homes and maintaining low ratios of nurses to residents can directly impact the quality and frequency of a facility’s level of care. As an example, senior living facilities that tend to be higher or fully staffed have shown to be related to fewer incidences of resident hospitalization. As a result of these findings, Medicare strengthens oversight on thinly staffed nursing homes to ensure proper caretaking of residents.
Understaffing a Nursing Home Can Be Grounds for a Lawsuit
In November of 2018, the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) introduced actions intended to increase nursing home supervision and transparency to impose enhanced staffing standards on nursing facilities. In accordance with the findings on elder abuse, it was necessary that Medicare strengthens oversight on thinly staffed nursing homes. These measures are also expected to improve the overall standard of care. However, if you suspect that you or a family member has been subject to living in an understaffed senior living facility, you may be entitled to compensation. Call Pintas & Mullins Law Firm now at (800) 201-3999.
Under the new CMS initiative, nursing homes may have certain requirements. This includes the following:
- Facilities with questionable staffing levels must share staffing data with state officials
- Verifying the availability of on-site nurses
- Clarify how facilities report working hours
- Clarify the time and length of employee breaks
- Make resident census improvements
The CMS also expressed that, “[w]e’re deeply concerned about potential inadequacies in staffing, such as low weekend staffing levels… and the impact it can have on patient care.” One such issue relates to a requirement mandated by federal law that senior living facilities have a full-time registered nurse on-site to treat residents, seven days per week. Many US nursing homes have reported that they have no registered nurse on staff whatsoever. The CMS indicated that they hope to resolve many or all understaffing issues such as these by using frequently updated payroll-based data to identify and provide state agency surveys with a list of nursing homes that have a significant drop in staffing levels on weekends, or that have several days in a quarter without a registered nurse on-site.
Accordingly, state survey agencies are required to conduct surveys during a number of weekends based on this list. If surveyors identify insufficient nurse staffing levels, the facility is cited for noncompliance and required to implement a plan of correction. CMS is also implementing measures focused on reducing the incidences of inappropriate administration of medications to nursing home residents. These measures were calculated as one part of a larger effort on the part of CMS to reduce or prevent the several ways that nursing home staff may abuse their residents. Any one or combination of these symptoms could be an indication of a larger problem.
We Can Help Protect Your Family from Substandard Nursing Home Care
If we represent you, we will notify the authorities of the abuse and conduct an investigation into the nursing home practices that harmed you or your family. We work to support our clients in the following ways:
- Communicate with defense counsel on your behalf
- Build a tort claim based on available, relevant evidence
- Ascertain the true cause of the abuse and expose those who are responsible
- Total the amount of all medical treatments and other related losses
- Convince the nursing home to offer you a substantial monetary settlement
- Bring a tort action in court and argue your claim before a jury
Pintas & Mullins Law Firm will do everything possible to help you recover compensation and see that those responsible for committing abuse are brought to justice. Our elder abuse advocates have helped many families avoid elder abuse and recovered reimbursements for many different types of expenses that our clients have incurred as a result of understaffed nursing homes. However, tort actions do have strict time limits in every state. Act now to put an end to elder abuse. Call us at (800) 201-3999 for a free and confidential consultation.