Staffing “Below Average” In Nearly 40% of PA Nursing Homes

PA Nursing Home Lawyers are speaking out against subpar staffing in many Pennsylvania nursing homes. While federal law requires nursing homes to provide adequate staff to safely care for residents, nursing homes often fail to staff enough nurses to meet resident needs. Registered nurse staffing is particularly important in nursing homes. The Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) outline that registered nurses (RNs) are responsible for the overall delivery of care for the residents, while LPNs ensure the residents’ plan of care is being followed and needs are being met. Despite the great responsibility of nurses in this health care setting, many nursing homes fall short of providing adequate nurse staffing which places residents at risk of injury according to PA Nursing Home Lawyers.


Does PA have a mandated nurse staffing ration?

While no federal standard for nursing levels exists, Pennsylvania regulations require 2.7 nursing hours per patient day. These required nurse staffing hours are a total of registered nurse (RN), licensed practical nurse (LPN) and Certified Nursing Assistant (CNA) ours. Some facilities low-ball the number of hours of nurse staffing as a cost-saving measure. Labor expenses are often the highest operational expense in a nursing home’s budget, so limiting staffing can help to reduce expenses and optimize profits. PA Nursing Home Lawyers point out that lawmakers in the state are seeking to increase the mandatory staffing minimums to 4.1 hours per patient day, but this legislation has not yet passed.


How Does Medicare Look at Staffing?

The Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) publish data about nursing homes on their Nursing Home Compare website. Each nursing home is provided with an overall rating score that is comprised of ratings from their recent health inspections, staffing, and quality measures. These categories then are tallied to provide the overall “star” rating for the nursing home.

The staffing rating is based on two measures:  RN hours per resident day and total nurse staffing per day. The staffing rate of the nursing home is then compared to national state averages. CMS notes that higher numbers of staffing rations are better when comparing nursing homes. Numerous studies have found that nursing homes with higher staffing levels are associated with a better quality of care. PA nursing home lawyers have litigated many cases where short staffing was a root cause for serious resident injuries.


What Do the Star Ratings Mean for Staffing?

CMS rates nursing home staffing based on a 5-star scale.  This scale is based on both the number of nurse staffing hours and resident acuity.  Consumers who review CMS staffing stars can interpret them as:

5 Star: Much above average staffing

4 Star: Above average staffing

3 Star: Average staffing

2 Star: Below average staffing

1 Star: Much below average staffing


How Many PA Nursing Homes have Below Average Staffing (from CMS Star Ratings)?

Sadly, PA Nursing Home Lawyers have found that CMS data posted May 2022 shows that 38% of Pennsylvania nursing homes have a 1 (Much Below Average) or 2 (Below Average) staffing rating. Additionally, 29% of nursing homes scored a 1- or 2-star RN staffing score during the same time.

If you are considering a nursing home for your loved one, Nursing Home Compare is a valuable source of information to help you understand the nursing homes staffing, health inspection history, and quality of care measures.


What Can I Do If My Loved One Has Been Injured by Understaffing in a Nursing Home?

PA Nursing Home Lawyers litigate many cases each year on behalf of nursing home residents and their families. In most cases, understaffing was a significant factor the resident’s injury. Common injuries that are attributed to understaffing include:

  • Falls with serious injuries
  • Pressure Ulcers
  • Missing Residents/Elopements
  • Infections
  • Neglect
  • Abuse
  • Amputations
  • Medication Errors

A nursing home neglect lawyer can seek compensation for the injuries you sustained from neglect at a poorly staffed nursing home. We understand that nursing home injuries result in significant hardships for the resident and their families. These injuries can cause severe pain, limit mobility, and reduce quality of life. Our nursing home lawyers fight for compensation for these injuries and hold nursing homes liable for negligence.


Contact PA Nursing Home Lawyers at the Wieand Law Firm for a Free Consultation

Call the Wieand Law Firm, LLC to speak with our experienced nursing home neglect lawyers about your situation. We take the time to listen closely to your concerns and help you understand your legal options. Our lawyers work on a contingency fee basis, which means that we don’t earn a fee unless we earn compensation for your injuries. Call 215-666-7777 or send us a message via the online form to speak directly with an attorney.

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