Do nursing homes in San Bernardino County and elsewhere in Southern California have enough staff members to prevent resident injuries due to negligence? Nursing homes have a duty to provide residents with the specific types of care they need, and when a facility is understaffed and a resident suffers an injury as a result of the understaffing, the facility may be liable. According to a recent report in The New York Times, federal officials have proposed new rules for increasing the number of staff members at nursing homes throughout the country. How do the newly proposed standards compare with current requirements in California? And what should you do if you believe an elderly loved one at a nursing home suffered serious or deadly injuries due to neglect and understaffing?
Our San Bernardino County nursing home neglect lawyers are here to help, and we can tell you more.
Learning More About the Newly Proposed Federal Rules
According to The New York Times, the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) “would require all facilities to increase staff up to certain minimum levels,” which would result in approximately 75% of all nursing homes in the country being required to hire more staff members. In some of the facilities, the increase in staff “would be minor,” while others would need to have a more significant increase in the number of staff at their facilities. What are the newly proposed staffing minimums?
CMS “would require homes to have daily average nurse staffing levels amounting to at least 0.55 hours per resident,” which The New York Times says “translates to one registered nurse for every 44 residents.” In addition, nursing homes would be required to have “2.45 nurse aide hours per resident per day, meaning a ratio of about one aide for every 10 residents.” Currently, nursing homes on average provide about 2.22 nurse aid hours per resident per day.
Problems With the Proposed CMS Rules
Could the proposed CMS rules prevent injuries caused by negligence or neglect at Southern California nursing homes? According to the article, there are some key problems with the proposed rules, including but not limited to:
- Rules do not provide any more funding, which would be necessary for facilities to increase the number of staff; and
- Current registered nurse staffing levels are, on average, actually above what CMS would require (currently, according to The New York Times, the average facility provides 0.66 hours per resident, compared to the newly proposed 0.55 hours per resident), which could backfire and result in nursing homes reducing the number of registered nurses on staff for financial reasons.
How do California requirements compare? Currently, according to the California Department of Public Health (CDPH), the state requires 3.5 direct care hours per day and 2.4 hours of direct care by a certified nursing assistant.
Contact a San Bernardino Nursing Home Abuse Lawyer
If you have any concerns about negligence or neglect resulting from understaffing, you should get in touch with a lawyer who can assess the circumstances. It is important to keep in mind that nursing homes and assisted-living facilities can be liable for resident injuries when those injuries result from understaffing and negligence — even if nobody at the facility intended any kind of harm. One of our experienced San Bernardino nursing home abuse attorneys can help. Contact the Walton Law Firm for more information.
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