Lack Of Staff Is A Serious Problem At Nursing Homes
At Reddick Law, we recognize that the majority of workers who staff our nation’s nursing homes are caring, hardworking and as committed to protecting the elderly community as we are.
Bad staff is not the problem in most nursing home cases, although there certainly are some hurtful or untrained staff members who cause problems. The biggest problem is lack of staff. Even the most well-trained and dedicated person can only do so much work in a day. If there is more work to do than the staff to do it, corners are going to be cut and something is going to be missed. All too often, that cut corner or missed something leads to a serious injury or the death of a nursing home resident.
How Much Staff Must Nursing Homes Have?
Nursing home staffing requirements vary from state to state, sometimes dramatically. Typically, state laws will mandate a specific ratio of staff members to residents. For example, Arkansas requires at least one direct care worker for every 6 residents during the day shift. On the other hand, New Mexico requires at least one direct care worker for every 15 residents during waking hours. In other words, Arkansas nursing homes must have over twice as many staff members as New Mexico.
State laws may also have requirements about who staffs a nursing home. Laws may require a certain number of licensed nurses or certified nursing assistants. Like the staff ratios, these requirements also vary greatly between states.
In order to maximize profits, nursing homes may attempt to maintain the bare minimum staffing. However, if a staff member quits suddenly or is out sick, the nursing home may not be able to find a replacement in time for a shift, so they will just move forward understaffed.
How Do I Know That A Nursing Home Was Insufficiently Staffed?
Most states’ laws also require that nursing homes document their staffing at all times. Unfortunately, some nursing homes may attempt to cover up their understaffing problem by falsifying their staffing documentation. Trust your gut. If you go to a nursing home and cannot find a staff member, your loved one who is living there likely cannot find a staff member when they need one either.
If your loved one has been harmed while staying at a nursing home and you feel like lack of staff is a problem, your instinct may be correct. Our attorneys will investigate to determine what went wrong. We hold nursing homes accountable when they violate staffing laws, and we seek justice for elderly people who have become ill, been injured or lost their lives because of these violations.