As the average age of the United States population continues to increase, more families have to rely on the services of nursing homes to care for family members. Unfortunately, many nursing home facilities are not properly equipped to take care of aging individuals with serious limitations and as a result many residents suffer from abuse and neglect. A new study confirms that many families have good reason to worry, as chronic understaffing is a widespread issue among nursing homes. If you believe your loved one has been harmed by nursing home negligence, contact a skilled Maryland nursing home abuse attorney to discuss your options.
In a recent study by Kaiser Health News and the New York Times, 1,400 nursing facilities across the United States are understaffed. This means that they have do not have an adequate number of registered nurses, as required by the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services. The records showed lower staffing levels than the nursing homes had been reporting.
The researchers looked at the payroll records of nursing homes and found that many did not report having a registered nursing on duty for at least 8 hours on many days, which is required under Medicare. In addition, the records of nursing assistants, who provide complemental services to the work of registered nurses, showed their time working was inconsistent. Medicare has only collected and published payroll data on staffing at nursing homes in recent years, as opposed to relying on the homes’ own reports as it had done previously.
Inadequate staffing levels are not a new issue in Maryland nursing homes. A 2016 article entitled “The Need for Higher Minimum Staffing Standards in U.S. Nursing Homes” discussed the need for increased staffing levels in nursing homes, noting that at many facilities, the staffing levels were “dangerously low.” Even in 1987 in the Nursing Home Reform Act, many reports found that low staffing levels has led to an increased risk of neglect and abuse. Some advocates say that the government should do more to address these issues, but note that use of the payroll reporting system is an important step towards holding them accountable.
Inadequate Staffing Levels and Abuse
Inadequate staffing levels can create an environment conducive to neglect and abuse in some circumstances. For example, having too few staff members limits the ability of a nursing home to adequately tend to patients’ needs, such as changing bandages, bathing residents, and tending to bed sores. Low staffing levels also overburdens those staff who are on shift, requiring they care for more patients than they safely can care for. This can create a significant amount of additional workplace stress that may lead to staff members becoming abusing with residents.
Has Your Loved One Been Injured at a Nursing Facility?
If your loved one has been injured at a Maryland nursing home, contact an experienced nursing home attorney as soon as possible. Nursing home residents are entitled to proper care, and a nursing home attorney can help you determine whether to pursue a claim against the facility responsible for the care of your loved one. At Lebowitz & Mzhen, LLC, we have extensive experience representing the victims of abuse and neglect throughout Maryland and Washington, D.C., and Virginia. Our attorneys approach every case with an unrivaled level of empathy and professionalism, while providing each client with the attention they deserve. Contact us at 1-800-654-1949 or 410-654-3600, or via our online form to set up a free, no obligation consultation.
More Blog Posts:
Study Reveals Dangers of Unlicensed Care Facilities, Maryland Nursing Home Lawyer Blog, published August 31, 2018.
Allegations of Abuse in Maryland Nursing Homes, Maryland Nursing Home Lawyer Blog, published September 7, 2018.