Boca Raton Nursing Home Negligence Lawyers Discuss Nursing Home Staffing Levels and Elder Neglect
Compassionate representation for the elderly loved ones of South Florida families
When you take on the challenging task of choosing the right nursing home for your loved one, you have expectations about how they will be taken care of, how much attention they will receive and how they will be protected from harm. When you discover that your elderly loved one has suffered abuse or neglect at a nursing home, your first reaction might be sadness that your relative had to endure the neglect, but that sadness might soon turn to anger as you wonder what can be done to make sure that no one else should have to experience the same type of abuse.
At the Yeboah Law Group, we share your outrage when we hear about these cases of nursing home neglect or abuse. Our elders are vulnerable and in some cases, are unable to speak for themselves. Our Boca Raton nursing home negligence attorneys fight for justice on their behalf.
The urgent issue of nursing home understaffing
Staff salaries are one of the largest expenses a nursing home has. It takes a lot of time to search for good candidates for nursing positions, vet them, hire and train them. The stress and responsibilities of the job may lead to low staff morale and a high staff turnover rate. Unfortunately, some nursing homes understaff to cut corners and increase profits. Understaffing can cause the remaining staff to feel overwhelmed and frustrated and overworked. This can lead to them rushing through their time with each resident, and for extended periods of time between visits from a nurse.
A facility may work their nurses overtime to get by with fewer nurses, but this is not an effective practice because staff who are overworked can be exhausted, make mistakes and provide less than adequate care.
Consequences of understaffing in nursing homes
Understaffing in a nursing home leads to neglect. If there are not enough nurses to care for all the patients, some patients will be neglected. Some of the common examples of what understaffing can cause includes:
- Bed sores
- Weight loss
- Use of chemical restraints
- Over medication
Florida nursing home staffing ratios
The Center for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) calculates a ratio of staffing hours per resident per day and reports those ratios on their nursing facility comparison tool called Nursing Home Compare. CMS lists the following types of nursing staff which are typically available in a skilled nursing facility or nursing home:
- Registered Nurse (RN)
- Licensed Practical Nurse (LPN) and Licensed Vocational Nurse (LVN)
- Certified Nursing Assistant (CNA)
- Physical Therapist (PT)
CMS calculates staffing hours per resident per day as the total number of hours worked by the staff members divided by the total number of residents. This does not reflect the number of nursing staff that might be present at the facility at any given moment, nor does it reflect the level of care given to any single nursing home resident.
Under Florida’s state nursing home regulations, 59A‐4.108 Nursing Services, the nursing home administrator will designate one full time registered nurse as the Director of Nursing, who shall be responsible and accountable for supervising and administering the facility’s nursing services program. The director of nursing shall designate one licensed nurse on each shift to be responsible for nursing services for that shift.
The nursing home must have sufficient nursing staff on a 24-hour basis to provide nursing care and related services to residents to maintain the highest practical, mental and psychosocial well-being of each resident as determined by each resident’s individual plan of care. A nursing home facility will staff at minimum, and average of 1.7 hours of certified nursing assistant and .6 hours of licensed nursing staff time for each resident during a 24-hour period. No nursing services staff person shall be scheduled for more than 16 hours within a 24-hour period for three consecutive days, except in an emergency. Emergencies shall be documented and shall be for a limited, specified period.
Reporting nursing home negligence or abuse in Florida
If you have taken note of lower than optimal staffing levels at your loved one’s nursing home, you must speak up about it. Talk to the administrator and ask when the situation is going to be addressed. If your loved one looks like they may be suffering from neglect because of understaffing, you can file a complaint with the Florida Department of Elder Affairs, which works with Adult Protective Services and the Aging Network to protect elders from abuse and exploitation. Call 1-800-96-ABUSE (1-800-962-2873) or you may file a report online.
Working with a nursing home abuse and neglect attorney
Once the incidence of abuse or neglect has been reported to the authorities, an experienced nursing home abuse lawyer from the Yeboah Law Group will investigate the incident and determine who is at fault. Then we will proceed to file the necessary complaints and take whatever legal action is appropriate. We understand that receiving a settlement for an injury your relative suffered at the hands of nursing home staff will not take away the trauma, the shame, and the pain that your loved one is going through, hopefully, it will ensure changes in policies and procedures to prevent such an incident from occurring again.
Schedule a free consultation with a Boca Raton nursing home abuse and negligence lawyer today
At Yeboah Law Group, we share your outrage at the thought of your elderly loved one being abused or neglected by the people charged with keeping them safe from harm. At Yeboah Law Group, our Boca Raton nursing home abuse attorneys know that recovering compensation for a loved one’s injuries do not erase the emotional trauma and physical pain, but it can serve to penalize the nursing home for its negligence or abuse, and hopefully inspire a change in policy that will keep the same thing from happening to someone else. Just a minute away from Publix Super Market at Fifth Avenue Shops, we invite you to call us at 1-800-TELL-SAM or fill out our contact form to schedule a free consultation.
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