Nursing homes must have enough employees to provide sufficient care to residents. When skilled nursing facilities do not have enough employees to attend to the needs of all residents, the nursing home may be understaffed. It is important to know that understaffing can result in resident injuries and can be the cause of nursing home neglect, for which the facility may be liable. A nursing home or its employees do not need to engage in intentional acts of abuse or neglect for the facility to be liable. Rather, “passive neglect,” or unintentional neglect resulting from understaffing that results in injuries, can mean that the facility is legally responsible. Our San Diego County nursing home neglect attorneys can say more.
Staffing Requirements at Nursing Homes
In Southern California and throughout the state, nursing homes have a duty to have sufficient employees to provide care to the residents at the facility. Skilled nursing facilities must employ enough people to ensure that residents receive the attention and care they need and to ensure that residents do not suffer harm as a result of a lack of necessary attention or care.
California does not have specific staff-to-patient ratios required in nursing homes, but the state does require patients to have a particular amount of daily care (3.5 hours of direct care per day).
Understanding the Impacts of Understaffing
What happens when nursing homes are understaffed? In short, residents may not receive assistance with activities of daily living (such as bathing, dressing, or eating), residents might not receive sufficient medical care, and medical conditions or health could worsen, residents could develop bed sores, and other serious problems. When a nursing home is understaffed, residents do not get the help they need, and they may not receive the medical care they need. As a result, the following are common injuries that occur:
- Bed sores and other infections;
- Fractures or broken bones;
- Malnourishment; and
According to an article in U.S. News & World Report, nursing homes serving certain communities are more impacted than others. Indeed, the article cites a study published in the Journal of the American Geriatrics Society that revealed “skilled clinical workers such as registered nurses (RNs) and physical therapists were in short supply at nursing homes in poorer neighborhoods, potentially putting residents’ safety at risk.” Further, that study showed that those neighborhoods were “more likely to serve vulnerable populations, including racial and ethnic minorities.”
Contact Our San Diego Nursing Home Neglect Lawyers Today
Understaffing is a significant problem in San Diego County and throughout Southern California. Even though a facility might not intend to cause harm to elderly residents at the facility, understaffing can result in resident injuries caused by passive neglect and negligence. If you are worried about a loved one at a nursing home, or if you believe your elderly parent’s injuries may have been caused by neglect or abuse, you should get in touch with an experienced San Diego County nursing home neglect lawyer who can help. Contact the Walton Law Firm today to learn more about how we can assist you and your family.
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