Although most nursing homes in the United States must follow federal guidelines for good quality care, few rules seem as subjective as staffing requirements for nursing homes. According to Health Service Insights, nursing homes are chronically understaffed and experience high turnover rates among their key employees. Some nursing home owners use this to their advantage and at the expense of nursing home staff and your loved one.
When your loved one needlessly suffers while in the care of a nursing home staff, you must find a way to protect their rights before things take a turn for the worse. If your loved one experienced abuse or neglect in a nursing home, a Tulsa understaffing lawyer can help you. Call the team at Pintas & Mullins Law Firm to begin working on your case today.
Requirements for Nursing Homes and Staffing
In Oklahoma, there are minimum requirements for direct care staff and licensed medical professionals in nursing homes. In the case of flexible nursing home staff, the maximum legal ratio of direct care staff to residents is 1:16. The Oklahoma State Department of Health requires that one director of nursing, either an RN or LPN, must work the day shift and be available by phone and one RN or LPN remains on duty at all times.
With the vulnerable nursing home resident population, even a slightly understaffed facility could have serious consequences. More robust requirements for nursing home staffing would require extra funding.
Nurse assistants are not usually licensed medical professionals and require far less training. They require oversight by licensed medical professionals, but they are typically paid less to carry out much of the same essential work with medical patients.
Nursing assistants help a nursing unit run smoothly, and must work with each unique patient on collecting information, obtaining vital signs, bathing and feeding, dressing wounds, and more. When the ratio of nursing assistants to nursing home residents is too low, it is understandable how neglect or abuse could happen.
Being a nursing assistant involves highly emotional and highly physical work in caretaking, with few of the financial rewards typically associated with working in a medical field. Some nursing homes take advantage of low staffing requirements by overwhelming nursing assistants, which may create an unstable working environment for assistants and an unpleasant living situation for your loved one. Even when nursing home abuse is unintentional, it violates your loved one’s rights as a resident.
When the quantity of nursing home staffing affects the quality of care that your loved one receives, it is important to understand and protect their rights according to the law. Working with a Tulsa understaffing lawyer can help you understand the unique requirements of your loved one’s nursing home and your legal options.
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Legal Options for Nursing Home Understaffing
According to the National Institute on Aging, nursing home abuse can occur due to the vulnerable position of an elderly person who relies on assistance with daily tasks. Essentially, nursing assistants who are working in an understaffed nursing home pose a known threat to your loved one’s safety and wellbeing. The National Institute on Aging lists some of the types of abuse and neglect that can occur:
- Physical abuse
- Emotional abuse
- Sexual abuse
- Financial exploitation
Each type of abuse comes with its own unique warning signs and symptoms. In some cases, your loved one may not show any signs at all. It can help to be proactive in working with your loved one’s caretakers to make sure they do not suffer from abuse, but it is not a realistic option for everyone. In some cases, pursuing a legal case may help to get justice for you and your loved one’s suffering.
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Reporting Assisted Living Abuse
While a lawyer can help you file all necessary documents for pursuing a nursing home abuse case, there are some resources for reporting nursing home abuse and neglect that you can use right now.
All medical professionals are required to report any suspected nursing home abuse in order to protect the safety and wellbeing of your loved one. In some cases, you can also contact your loved one’s local ombudsman to gain better insight into the unique relationships that exist in your loved one’s nursing home. This can be a helpful step in pursuing a case that defends your loved one’s rights.
Additionally, if your loved one is in any immediate danger, contacting law enforcement is the best first option. In any case, the Oklahoma Adult Protective Services can investigate and enforce the good quality care that your loved one deserves. Beyond the initial stages of reporting, a lawyer can help you collect all necessary evidence to pursue a legal case against negligent parties.
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Work with a Tulsa Understaffing lawyer
Living in a nursing home should never be a detriment to your loved one’s quality of life. If your loved one suffered at the hands of a nursing home due to understaffing, they suffered unnecessarily. Consider allowing a Tulsa understaffing lawyer from Pintas & Mullins Law Firm to help seek compensation on your loved one’s behalf.