New federal data shows that nursing homes across the country have significantly fewer nurses and caretaking staff than what has been reported to the government for years.
The new records show that there are major gaps in day-to-day staffing, especially on the weekends. On understaffed days at the average nursing home facility, care takers are responsible for serving almost twice as many residents as when staffing is at capacity.
Kaiser Health News reviewed the daily payroll records provided by Medicare of more than 14,000 nursing homes. Before the Affordable Care Act required nursing homes to publish these records, Medicare rated a facilities staffing levels based on unverified reports provided by the facility itself.
According to the payroll analysis, the government’s five-star rating system for nursing home facilities failed to identify periods of low staffing and actually exaggerated staffing levels. Although Medicare will now use the new data to evaluate staffing, the new ratings still conceal the staffing issues that nursing home employees must deal with.
In the United States, close to 1.4 million people receive care from a nursing home facility. Without adequate staffing, nurses and aides are forced to hurry from patient to patient when administering medications and delivering meals. As a result, things like re-positioning a patient to prevent bedsores are being over looked and leading to more hospitalizations.
Speaking about the consequences of understaffed nursing homes, David Stevenson, an associate professor of health policy at Vanderbilt University School of Medicine, said, “Volatility means there are gaps in care. It’s not like the day-to-day life of nursing home residents and their needs vary substantially on a weekend and a weekday. They need to get dressed, to bathe and to eat every single day.”
Medicare doesn’t have a set minimum resident-to-staff ratio, though it does require a registered nurse to be present for 8 hours a day and a licensed nurse to be present at all times.
Speak to a Nursing Home Abuse Attorney
With so many nursing homes being understaffed, countless instances of abuse go unreported. If you or a loved one have experienced abuse at a nursing home, you should immediately speak with our legal team. We can review the details of your case and build a strong legal strategy that will protect your rights and interests. Let us get started on your case today.
Call (215) 564-4400, or contact a Philadelphia nursing home abuse lawyer to set up a free case review.