1.4 million people in the United States are cared for in nursing home
facilities, but most nursing homes lack adequate staff to properly care for
their residents, according to recent federal data. This can put residents at an
increased risk for neglect and nursing home abuse.
this post, the Madison elder abuse attorneys at Boller & Vaughan discuss understaffing at nursing
homes and how understaffing can affect residents’ safety.
A PBS report based on Medicare data from more than 14,000 nursing homes nationwide found that nursing homes often exaggerated their staffing levels and rarely identified time periods in which staffing levels were thin.
data analysis, which was conducted by Kaiser Health News, found “frequent and
significant fluctuations in day-to-day staffing.” The report also noted that
staff shortfalls were particularly frequent on weekends.
minimally staffed days at an average care facility, according to the report,
on-duty employees cared for nearly twice as many residents as they did on days
when a full staff was present. The report suggests that many nursing homes
inflated their staffing numbers to adhere to the government’s five-star rating
government was previously relying on nursing homes to report their own staffing
levels. But the Affordable Care Act requires Medicare to use payroll records to
evaluate staffing levels.
are a number of reasons why nursing homes are inadequately staffed. One is that
these care centers often pay nursing staff relatively low wages.
Nursing assistants earned an average of $13.23 an hour in 2017, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics. Qualified nurses and nursing assistants, according to the PBS report, often seek higher-paying employers such as hospitals.
wages often contribute to brief employee tenures and high turnover rates.
Nursing home care is also challenging, and its accompanying stresses can be
amplified when on-duty personnel are trying to cover for gaps in inadequate
get burned out and they quit,” a man whose mother died in a nursing home told
PBS. “It’s been constant turmoil, and it never ends.”
makes it difficult to provide the individualized care and supervision so many
nursing home residents require.
Existing nursing home employees often become overwhelmed or exhausted by their workloads, which can make them susceptible to neglecting patients’ needs or making care-based errors, such as over- or under-medicating a patient. Nurses with excessive workloads are more likely miss details specific to a patient’s care—like changes in medication, which can lead to health issues and even death for some patients.
some cases, staff may become so overtaxed or frustrated that they direct verbal
or physical abuse at residents. This is why it’s critical for family members
and other loved ones of nursing home residents to be vigilant for signs of nursing home neglect or
PBS report notes that there is currently no consensus on optimal staffing
levels, and there is no established minimum resident-to-staff ratio. Medicare
currently requires the presence of a registered nurse for a minimum of eight
hours per day and a licensed nurse on staff at all times.
If you believe a loved one is a victim of neglect or abuse in a Wisconsin nursing home, it’s important to take action as soon as possible.
If you suspect an elderly loved one is in imminent danger, call 911 or local law enforcement. If you believe an elderly individual is a victim of financial exploitation or non-emergency mistreatment, contact your county’s Elder Adults At-Risk Help Line, which is administered by the Wisconsin Department of Health Services. You can also contact Wisconsin’s Long-Term Care Ombudsman, which addresses complaints about elder care in centers including nursing homes and community-based residential facilities (CBRFs).
also a good idea to consult with an attorney who has experience in elder abuse
cases. A knowledgeable elder abuse lawyer can help ensure that your case is
properly investigated and that relevant evidence is preserved. An attorney can
also help you and your family pursue compensation for any related damages or
losses, such as medical expenses.
Reporting suspected elder neglect or abuse is vital to protecting your loved one and others from further harm. Neglect and abuse in nursing homes is rarely limited to a single individual.
Boller & Vaughan has earned a reputation in Wisconsin and across the country for its advocacy on behalf of nursing home abuse victims. If you believe a loved one is a victim of abuse or neglect in a nursing home or CBRF, please call our Madison office today at 608-268-0268 or contact us online for your free consultation.
At least 10 percent of individuals 65 and older are believed to be victims of neglect or abuse, according to the National Center on Elder Abuse, and that number is likely much higher as many […]
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We live in Friendship, Wisconsin, and Boller & Vaughan came to our doorstep to discuss our mother’s wrongful death claim on a Saturday morning. Not only were we pleased with the large recovery, we were so thankful to have lawyers who were willing to explain to us every twist and turn along the way. It is great to know there is a law firm that will fight for the rights of elderly people all over Wisconsin.
Mr. Boller and Ms. Vaughan were incredible in working on my case and my daughter’s case. I was out of work and in the hospital with a new baby. Mr. Boller and Ms. Vaughan protected our rights and it was a pleasure to work with them. I hope never to be in another motor vehicle accident, however, if I am and I am injured, I will contact Boller & Vaughan immediately.
I was referred to Michelle through a friend. I have never had a better experience. It took a little over a year to get my settlement but the staff there stayed in constant contact and kept me in the loop. Oh, and Michelle actually got me MORE money than we discussed. I will refer anyone to this firm. Words cannot do justice the thanks that I have for Michelle and her staff (Mary especially) thank you guys so much!
After my husband died as a result of a motor vehicle accident, Boller & Vaughan spent countless hours talking with me, meeting with me in person, and making sure that I was okay. The drunk driver who hit us did not have any insurance, and we had to make a claim through our own insurance. Boller & Vaughan was fantastic at explaining the law to me and the handling of our claims.
After my son was injured in a daycare setting, Ms. Vaughan took the time to thoroughly investigate our case and my son’s injuries. Michele was approachable and had answers to our questions. Talking with her helped to relieve many of our anxieties.