Reducing Costs to Make a Profit
Nursing homes and skilled-nursing facilities are required by law to hire sufficient staff to meet the needs of their residents. However, the cost of employing qualified staff is among the most expensive line items in a nursing home’s budget. Thus, to cut costs and maximize profits, these corporate-owned facilities often reduce the number of registered nurses they employ.
While this strategy generates greater corporate revenues, it fails to take into account the needs of nursing-home residents, many of whom are wholly dependent on the care they receive from overworked staff who are spread too thin to do the work required of them. And this understaffing crises in nursing homes is typically a direct result of corporate budgeting strategies implemented by people who have never set foot in the nursing homes affected by their decisions.
Widespread Understaffing Reported in New York Times
According to a recent article in the New York Times, Medicare “has lowered its star ratings for staffing levels in one out of 11 of the nation’s nursing homes—almost 1,400 of them—because they were either inadequately staffed with registered nurses or failed to provide payroll data that proved they had the required nursing coverage,” according to federal records. These federal records further revealed that many of these nursing homes had “lower overall staffing levels than the homes had disclosed” based on the homes’ previously unverified self-reporting Id. Weekend staffing was “particularly sparse,” as, on average, “there were 11 percent fewer nurses providing direct care and 8 percent fewer aides” on weekends. Id.
Understaffing Can Lead to Neglect
As a consequence of chronic understaffing, our loved ones are often left unattended or ignored for far too long as overworked staff rush to get through everything asked of them. Understaffing can lead to less frequent checks on residents, less assistance with toileting, feeding, and bathing, and less staff to assist a loved one in repositioning in bed. Ultimately, a corporation’s failure to hire sufficient staff can lead to neglect, injury, and even death from falls, pressure sores, and failure to diagnose serious medical conditions.
We all hope and expect that the nursing homes we choose will live up to their end of the bargain in providing care to our loved ones. But it is important to understand that nursing homes sometimes put revenue over residents and profits over people. Eric J. Hertz, P.C. strives to hold these facilities accountable to a jury when they betray the trust that has been placed in them.
Eric J. Hertz, P.C.
Nursing Home Abuse Lawyers