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Nursing Home Deficiencies Drop, but Staff Numbers Still Low

A new report from the Kaiser Family Foundation found that while the average number of deficiencies in nursing homes has dropped in recent years, staffing levels are still falling short of the recommended levels. The study looked at data from 2009 to 2015. During this timeframe, the average number of deficiencies in general declined. There was a larger decrease from 2009 to 2013, and then a small increase between 2013 and 2015. Still, in 2015, more than one-fifth of facilities had a deficiency indicating actual harm or immediate jeopardy. The most common types of deficiencies include infection control, accident prevention, sanitation, and quality of care in general.

On the other hand, staffing levels remained fairly stagnant. There was a slight increase from 2009, in which total nursing hours averaged 3.9 per resident day, to 2015, in which total nursing hours averaged 4.1 per resident day. These levels of staffing still did not rise to the level suggested by some experts, who indicated that the target staffing goal should be 4.55 nursing hours per resident day.

The report detailed some other findings, as well, that relate to current conditions in nursing homes. For instance, the study found that nursing staff still may not be receiving adequate training to properly care for residents with higher needs, or those with behavioral issues. Although nursing home capacity has remained relatively flat, occupancy rates in nursing homes declined slightly between 2009 and 2015. However, the number of for-profit companies operating nursing homes increased slightly from 2009 to 2015.

You entrust your loved one to a nursing home or other long-term care facility with the intention that staff members will properly care for him or her. When that facility’s staff members fail to provide your loved one with an even basic level of reasonable care, it is likely that negligence occurred, which may make that facility and the guardian liable for the resulting injuries. If you find yourself in this situation, you may be entitled to compensation for the losses that you or your family member has suffered. Contact our Wisconsin nursing home abuse attorneys at Boller & Vaughan and learn what we can do for you and your family.