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Nursing HomePreventing Elder AbuseUnderstaffing

Role of Adequate Staffing Levels in Preventing Abuse in Nursing Homes

By Lisa LeeMarch 6, 2024No Comments

When it comes to ensuring the well-being of nursing home residents, staffing levels play a vital role. Adequate staffing is essential for providing quality care and, perhaps most importantly, preventing abuse and neglect. If your elderly loved one suffered neglect or abuse, an experienced nursing home abuse attorney can help you seek adequate compensation.

Link Between Staffing Levels and Resident Safety

Nursing home staffing levels refer to the number of trained personnel available to provide care and assistance to residents. This includes registered nurses (RNs), licensed practical nurses (LPNs), certified nursing assistants (CNAs), and other support staff.

  • Personalized Care and Attention: Adequate staffing allows staff members to provide personalized care to residents. When staff-to-resident ratios are high, caregivers aren’t able to address the individual needs and preferences of residents.
  • Timely Responses to Needs: In a well-staffed nursing home, residents’ needs can be met promptly. Whether it’s assistance with mobility, medication management, or addressing discomfort, quick response times can prevent situations that may lead to neglect or abuse.
  • Preventing Overwork and Burnout: Insufficient staffing levels can lead to overworked and stressed employees, which can contribute to frustration and, in some cases, abusive behavior.

Legal Requirements for Staffing Levels

Federal Regulations

The federal government, through the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS), has established minimum staffing requirements for nursing homes. These regulations stipulate the number of nursing staff hours per resident day (HPRD) that must be provided. As per new rules proposed under Biden-Harris administration, staffing levels should amount to a minimum of 0.55 hours per resident. This equates to one registered nurse for every 44 nursing home residents.

California Regulations

California is among the few states with additional regulations and guidelines regarding staffing levels. The state is known for its nurse staffing ratios, which are some of the most stringent in the country. California requires all nursing and elderly homes to provide 3.5 nursing HPRD. This equates to at least one registered nurse for every 59 residents. However, there are exceptions to this under California Health & Safety Code §1276.5.

Washington Regulations

Washington state has similar regulations, requiring nursing and elderly homes to provide a minimum of 3.4 nursing HPRD, which includes both hands-on care as well as care planning. The regulations and its exceptions can be found under RCW 74.42.360. If you suspect your loved one to have experienced abuse, you should speak with a qualified nursing home abuse attorney as soon as possible.

Filing a Personal Injury Claim Following Nursing Home Abuse

Understaffing in nursing homes can lead to inadequate care, neglect, and abuse, all of which can result in injury or harm to residents. If you believe that understaffing was a contributing factor in your loved one’s injury, here are a few steps you can take:

  • Consult an Attorney: You should consult with an experienced nursing home abuse attorney who can assess your case. They can provide legal guidance, evaluate the evidence, and determine if you have a valid claim.
  • Investigate the Incident: Your attorney will help gather evidence to establish a connection between the injury and understaffing. This may involve reviewing medical records, documenting injuries, interviewing witnesses, and examining the nursing home’s staffing records.
  • Negotiate or Litigate: Depending on the circumstances and evidence, your attorney may negotiate with the nursing home for a settlement or, if necessary, file a lawsuit against the facility on your loved one’s behalf.

If your claim is successful, you may be eligible for compensation for medical expenses, pain and suffering, emotional distress, and other damages caused by your loved one’s injuries.

Our Personal Injury Attorneys Will Fight to Maximize Your Damages in the Shortest Possible Time

The experienced nursing home abuse attorneys at Walton Law, A.P.C. are dedicated to helping seniors fight for justice. You are our priority, and our knowledgeable and seasoned attorneys will do everything possible to maximize your compensation. Schedule your free case review with our lawyers today. Call us at 866-338-7079 or contact us online.