Under-Staffing in Nursing Homes Leads to Injuries and Patient Neglect

under-staffing in nursing homes leads to injuries and patient neglect

The conclusions of a recent study by the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) are quite concerning: US nursing homes are consistently overstating their staffing.  The fact is under-staffing in nursing homes leads to injuries and patient neglect.

CMS originally developed a five star rating system for nursing homes which was designed to help the families of senior citizens to make more informed decisions when selecting a nursing home for their loved ones.  California Nursing homes and facilities across the country are required by law to report specific information to the US government including, but not limited to:

  • Number of Nurses
  • Number of Caretakers
  • Number of Overall Employees

These numbers were self-reported and it is simply not possible to verify their accuracy.  Many nursing homes across the US have inflated the size of their staff in an attempt to increase their property’s rating in the five star system.  However, a recent investigation based on actual payroll data has revealed a deeply concerning fact: the numbers were significantly inflated in many cases.

The fact is under-staffing in nursing homes leads to injuries and patient neglect.  Under-staffing in nursing homes increases the patient care burden on nurses, medical technicians and other caretakers.  As a result, these medical professionals are required to care for many more patients than California’s high standards require.  In many cases, anti-psychotic medications and other sedatives are often prescribed or increased to reduce the attention required by each patient.

Less staff means less supervision of patients who may be forced to attempt to get out of bed on their own to go to the rest room or seek assistance, leading to falls resulting in serious injury.  Overworked staff are also more likely to physically or emotionally abuse patients or neglect them as fatigue sets in throughout the day.

CMS has recently re-evaluated nursing homes based upon payroll data and adjusted ratings accordingly.  You may wish to re-check the ratings of local nursing homes.   If you are concerned about abuse or neglect of a loved one in a nursing home or if your family members suffers a serious injury in a fall we invite you to contact the Law Firm of Rivers J Morrell or call for a free consultation at 949-305-1400. 

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