Can Staffing Issues Lead to Increases In Florida Nursing Home Abuse Cases?

nursing home accidentNearly 1.5 million resident live in skilled nursing facilities across the country. In Florida, we have about 71,000 residents live in nursing homes and assisted living centers.

It’s sad to say, but a common theme among Florida nursing homes (as well as many others across the country) is that these facilities often face issues related to understaffing, improper screening of potential hires and inadequate training of the caregivers who are hired.

Many of the problems we see as nursing home lawyers are, in part, caused by these staffing problems.

According to the Florida Health Care Association, “Florida’s long term care centers require the nation’s highest level of direct-care hours (3.6) per resident per day — well above the national median of 2.5.”

Gaps in service, gaps in care…

When facilities are understaffed, who provides the one-on-one care and attention needed by elderly residents? How can these facilities provide the level of service they marketed when trying to bring in new residents? How can these facilities meet federal requirements if they’re Medicare and Medicaid certified?

A facility that is habitually understaffed and hires poorly qualified nurses and staff who are poorly trained opens itself up to a wide range of potential hazards for the elderly residents it claims to protect and care for.

Bedsores, malnutrition, excessive bruising, prescription errors and general neglect – these are just a few of the common abuses faced by those living in nursing homes.

While this PBS article is a year old, the issue is a current one – Most Nursing Homes Are Not Adequately Staffed, New Federal Data Says.

The same can be said for this AARP article, Gaps in Nursing Home Staffing Underreported.

Who is to blame…?

Reporting like this continues to drive awareness of both the problem and the possible solutions. For anyone who needs to make decisions about placing a loved one into a home, the staffing of that facility should be scrutinized.

One of the things we investigate as part of a nursing home abuse or nursing home neglect claim is – “were staffing issues to blame?”

As attorneys trying to determine ‘what happened’ to an abuse victim, we want to know who was working with a resident, what their level of training was, did they have the appropriate level of experience.

Was a nurse qualified to work with patients? Did they have a criminal background? Were they given the training and support necessary to properly care for residents?

These are all important factors that help determine why an incident occurred.

Help when it’s needed…

At Baron, Herskowitz, and Cohen, we work hard to help our clients get compensation for their injuries and can often draw a straight line between staffing issues and lapses in care.

For more information, please call our office at 305-670-0101 or fill out the form on the right hand side of the page. We’ll be happy to answer your questions and provide the guidance you may need.

We work with victims and their families across Florida. We’re also able to work with other attorneys who may need assistance with their nursing home abuse cases.

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