USA Today Report Exposes Rampant Nursing Home Understaffing

Nursing Home Negligence Lawyer PhiladelphiaPhiladelphia nursing home neglect lawyers warn the public regarding reports of severe understaffing throughout the nursing home industry. A December 1, 2022, article published by USA Today reveals the rampant understaffing the pervades US nursing homes. Sadly, understaffing is a leading cause of resident accidents and injuries. Philadelphia nursing home neglect lawyers at the Wieand Law Firm encourage individuals to reach out for legal counsel if their loved one has been seriously harmed from nursing home abuse or neglect.

Staffing Is Strongest Predictor of Quality Care

Industry researchers have from a strong correlation between staffing and resident care. Residents in understaffed nursing homes are directly impacted by poor staffing. Residents report that short staffing often means that essential resident care is not completed. This means that residents can spend hours in soiled briefs, showers are not performed, call buttons ring for extended periods of time before being responded to, and wounds are not properly cared for.

Over 75% of Nursing Homes Understaffed

According to the USA Today report, more than three-quarters of the nation’s nursing homes reported fewer RNs, LPNs, and CNAs that expected based on Medicare’s payment formula. In total, 11,757 nursing homes nationwide fell into this bucket of understaffing. Of these facilities, only 5% received a deficiency citation for short-staffing.

A leading researcher believes that USA TODAY’s analysis may have underestimated the frequency in which nursing homes fell short of staffing standards, as the report used a conservative standard to measure expected nursing care. Charlene Harrington, a professor emerita at the University of California, San Francisco stated that the comparative standard was “the bare minimum” and that federal regulators have been failing to enforce even that standard. The American Health Care Association (ACHA) published a news release this past summer that compared staffing levels to more stringent guidelines than used by USA TODAY. In their report, ACHA found that 94% of the country’s facilities missed minimum staffing standards.

Philadelphia nursing home neglect lawyers agree that they have witnessed many incidents of understaffing in the states of Pennsylvania and New Jersey. Sadly, the extent of facility understaffing often is uncovered when it results in a serious resident injury. The PA nursing home lawyers at the Wieand Law Firm have litigated multiple cases in which understaffing has resulted in catastrophic injuries from falls, pressure ulcers, infections, and neglect.

Minorities Receive Lowest Staffing Levels

Racial disparities are particularly prominent in nursing homes, and understaffing is particularly prevalent at nursing homes that serve many minority residents. One statistic in the USA Today report cited that only 7% of Virginia nursing homes that cared for large populations of minority residents met staffing levels expected by the Medicare payment formula. This statistic varies drastically from all nursing homes in the state, in which 30% met those staffing levels.

Injuries and Illnesses Linked to Nursing Home Understaffing

Philadelphia nursing home neglect lawyers impress that understaffing fundamentally impacts resident care. Nursing home owners who intentionally understaff are making a choice to prioritize profits over patient care. This approach cannot be tolerated, as the negative consequence to resident health is too significant. Multiple academic studies have linked understaffing with negative outcomes such as pressure ulcers, preventable falls with injuries, weight loss, malnutrition, dehydration, and resident neglect and abuse.

What Steps Can I Take If My Loved One was Hurt from Nursing Home Understaffing?

Immediate actions should be taken if nursing home short staffing has resulted in resident injury or death. PA nursing home lawyers recommend taking the following steps:

  • Report the understaffing to the state Department of Health by filing a nursing home complaint
  • Contact your local Ombudsman to request assistance advocating for your loved one to nursing home management
  • Contact the nursing home understaffing lawyers at the Wieand Law Firm for legal advice about filing a lawsuit.

While the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) continues to hem and haw regarding the establishment of safe staffing minimum levels, PA nursing home lawyers understand that the only way to make profiteering nursing homes change the way that they provide resident care is to hold them liable when their negligence results in preventable injuries.

Contact the PA Nursing Home Lawyers at the Wieand Law Firm

Philadelphia nursing home neglect lawyers at the Wieand Law Firm represent victims who are harmed by nursing home neglect and their loved ones. Call 215-666-7777 to speak directly with an attorney for a free consultation or complete the form on this website to discuss your claim.

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