Is understaffing causing more nursing home neglect and injuries?
A report published earlier this year confirmed what many people have known for a long time. Almost all nursing homes, no matter where they are located, are understaffed. Unfortunately, understaffing can have dire consequences for residents of California nursing homes, leading to increased neglect, injury and even death.
Several factors have contributed to increasing problems
Even with few and sometimes no family members visiting loved ones in long-term care facilities, residents faced a growing climate of nursing home injuries. In 2019, the Trump administration rolled back protections for nursing home residents, limiting their right to sue for injuries and other problems. Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) noted at the time that the policy had a deleterious impact on the quality of care received by nursing home residents.
Staffing shortages are a longstanding problem
Even before the 2019 policy change, CMS has failed to set minimum staffing requirements. CMSguidelines are vague, only indicating that a facility must have the highest practicable physical, mental, and psychosocial well-being of each resident. a 2018 Human Rights Watch report indicated that understaffing resulted in serious abuses that included inappropriate use of antipsychotic drugs. Staff concerns, such as poor pay, lack of health insurance and family leave, lead to high turnover rates and ultimately low staffing levels.
Increasing cases of neglect
California facilities cannot use understaffing as a defense for nursing home injuries. The Nursing Home Reform Act of 1987 and various associated regulations protect nursing home residents from neglect and abuse. They also have the right to be treated with dignity and respect.
If you believe a loved one in a nursing home has suffered abuse and neglect, you may have a case against the facility. Working with an experienced lawyer can help obtain compensation.