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Low staffing levels could lead to problems in nursing homes


Posted on behalf of Michael D'Amico of D'Amico & Pettinicchi, LLC on Nov 13, 2014 in Nursing Home Neglect

It is likely that many people who place loved ones in a nursing home do so because they feel it is the best way to ensure that they are getting the care they need. That belief could be based upon many things including the services offered at the facility, a visit that appeared to indicate that residents were well cared for and reports regarding the staffing provided. Unfortunately it appears that depending on where the information is found, the latter reason may not always be reliable.  

More specifically there appears to be a widespread discrepancy between what many nursing homes, throughout the country, report regarding staffing, to websites such as Nursing Home Compare, and cost reports that are made each year to the state-federal Medicaid program. An analysis conducted by the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services determined that the staffing levels in thousands of cases, were actually lower that what was self-reported. This is an issue since the staff to resident ratio generally correlates to the level of care provided.

Depending on the circumstances it is possible that a staffing level that is too low could lead to a resident suffering a variety of injuries including:

  • Assault
  • Medication errors
  • Infection
  • Malnutrition
  • Falls
  • Dehydration

In the worst cases death could be the result.

While such injuries should never occur, when they do, family members of those who are hurt may be able to take legal action. When negligence is to blame a personal injury lawsuit could be appropriate. Though such a suit cannot undo the harm that a loved one experienced, the financial compensation received in a successful lawsuit could make it easier to provide proper care to that individual.

Source: The Center for Public Integrity, "Analysis shows widespread discrepancies in staffing levels reported by nursing homes," Jeff Kelly Lowenstein, Nov. 12, 2014