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New Reporting Methods: Most Nursing Homes Understaffed

A recent review of staffing information collected and analyzed by Kaiser Health News indicates that most nursing homes actually have fewer nurses and caretakers on staff than they report to federal authorities. While the numbers submitted suggest adequate personnel on-site, these facilities are often severely short-staffed for their existing caseload. A detailed article is available here.

Many experts identify understaffing as a major contributor to the increasing reports of nursing-home neglect—and further suggest the problem has existed for years. The report affirms the long-held suspicions held by many families who feel nursing-home staffing levels are woefully inadequate. The information—pulled from daily payroll records Medicare obtains for more than 14,000 nursing homes—reveals fluctuations in day-to-day staffing, particularly on weekends.

Nursing Homes by the Numbers

According to numerous studies, nursing homes with lower staff numbers tended to produce an increased number of health-code violations. The figures below—based on Medicare’s new reporting procedures—indicate the severity of the problems created by understaffing:

  • Nearly 1.4 million people in the U.S. currently reside in skilled nursing-home care facilities.
  • Approximately 25% of facilities had no nurses on-site on at least one day during Q4 2017.
  • New reporting shows 70% of nursing homes have lower staffing numbers than once thought.
  • On average, staffing numbers are 12% lower than what facilities have previously reported.
  • Since 2014, federal inspectors have cited 1-in-8 nursing homes for having too few nurses on-site.

Understaffing Effects Patient Outcomes

Medicare sets no minimum staff-to-resident ratio—but does require a registered nurse be present for eight hours a day—and requires a licensed nurse to be present at all times. Understaffing means that aides and nurses must administer medication, assist residents to the restroom, and deliver meals. In the process, essential tasks may be overlooked—leading to preventable complications.

We’ll Fight for Your Loved One

If your loved one has suffered abuse or neglect in a nursing home or other long-term care facility, call the experienced North Carolina nursing home abuse attorneys at Henson Fuerst today at (919) 781-1107.

If you are concerned about the treatment your loved one is receiving, contact the legal team at Henson Fuerst today. Call (919) 781-1107 or complete a free initial consultation form. We have a long history of advocating for the rights of people suffering mistreatment—and will treat your case with respect and compassion.

When you call, you will speak with one of our experienced Raleigh nursing home abuse attorneys. They will investigate every detail of your situation at no cost to you and fight hard to protect your rights. At Henson Fuerst, you will never pay an attorney’s fee up front, and you owe us nothing unless we recover for you.

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