A recent study in the Journal of Health Affairs has estimated that as much as 75% of all nursing homes are significantly understaffed. The study compared the number of registered nurses (RNs), licensed practical nurses (LPNs) and nurse aides to the staffing requirements set forth by the Center for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS). What they found was that many nursing homes fell well below CMS requirements, often inflating their staffing numbers in government reports to save on their operational costs.
Nursing homes are expected to maintain adequate staffing levels to ensure their residents are afforded a certain quality of care. When they are understaffed, it causes additional stress to the RNS, LPNs and aides working there, and increases the likelihood of mistakes or accidents by the employees. Residents of understaffed nursing homes are more likely to suffer from malnutrition, dehydration and bed sores as a result of staff negligence. Additionally, it makes it more likely that a medical emergency will not be addressed in a timely fashion, endangering the health and safety of the nursing home’s residents.
Despite these risks, the majority of nursing homes do not maintain appropriate staffing levels to care for their residents. The reason for this is simple: keeping a nursing home staffed at the levels required by CMS is expensive, and keeping payroll down allows for more profits for the nursing home’s ownership. However, it’s worth noting that the CMS requirements are not optional, and any nursing home that keeps itself understaffed may open itself to legal liability, should any of their residents suffer harm as a result of the staffing shortfalls.
If you or a loved one has suffered an injury or illness due to the negligent conduct of a nursing home or assisted living facility, it’s important to get the legal representation you need to remedy the situation and get compensation for the harm you and your loved ones have suffered. The lawyers at Levine and Slavit, PLLC are experienced in representing New York City and Long Island residents in nursing home abuse and neglect cases. To schedule a free consultation, contact our New York City nursing home abuse and neglect lawyers at (212) 687-2777 or for our Long Island nursing home abuse and neglect lawyers call (516) 294-8282.