Families entrust nursing homes to provide quality care and help assist with daily life for their elderly loved ones. However, when nursing homes don’t have enough staff, they compromise the care of their residents. A Plain Dealer article reported that 70 percent of Ohio nursing homes were staffed below the requirement of what is necessary for safe and adequate care. Understaffing in these facilities increases the risks for resident injuries. If your loved one suffered an injury or death caused by neglect or abuse from understaffing issues, then contact the nursing home abuse attorneys at Tittle & Perlmuter.
Nursing Home Staffing
Ohio law requires that “each nursing home shall have sufficient direct care staff on each shift to meet the needs of the residents in an appropriate and timely manner and have the following individuals provide a minimum daily two and one-half hours of direct care and services per resident per day.” The staff found at nursing homes include:
- Registered Nurses (RNs)
- Licensed Vocational Nurses (LVNs) or Licensed Practical Nurses (LPNs)
- Certified Nursing Assistants (CNAs)
- Physical Therapists
Usually, registered nurses initially assess resident needs and then work alongside LVN/LPNs to implement care plans for each individual. The CNAs help maintain elder health and safety while completing daily activities, which include eating, hygiene, grooming, dressing, and bathroom needs.
Ohio requires nursing homes to have one registered nurse at the home 5 days a week for 8 hours a day, or two registered nurses that share these hours. In addition, when an RN isn’t present at the nursing home, one should be on call. Either an RN or LPN/LVN should be on duty 24 hours a day. Other staff required at the nursing homes include nurse aides, activities program staff, dietary staff, pharmacy services staff and social services staff.
Ohio Nursing Home Staffing Levels
The law further requires that “with input from the medical director and the director of nursing, the nursing staff shall adjust the staffing levels based on the needs and acuity levels of the residents, but in no event shall staffing fail to meet the requirements of this rule.”
Ohio nursing homes are ranked among the nation’s lowest rated in terms of quality care. Research shows safe care requires 4.1 to 4.5 hours of direct care for each resident per day. Ohio, however, only requires 2.5 hours of such care per day. Training hours required of Ohio nursing home employees are also less than other states. Nurse aides in Ohio are only required 75 hours of training and instruction before they start work, whereas states like California require 150 hours.
Results of Understaffing
Labor is one of the costliest expenses for nursing homes. It is typically one of the first things cut as homes try to boost profits. The issue of understaffing compounds at nursing homes by high turnover rates. They also face difficulties in finding and retaining quality employees. When there isn’t enough staff, employees work overtime. This increases stress levels and inattention. When these staffing and overworking issues combine, neglect and abuse of nursing home residents happen.
Elderly individuals are paying to receive adequate care while they’re in a nursing home. They depend on the staff to assist in daily activities. Residents who don’t have as much mobility rely even more on nursing home employees for extra care. However, understaffing prevents these individuals from receiving the help they need and deserve. The pursuit of profit blinds some nursing homes. They begin accepting more residents and hiring less staff. When there isn’t enough staff for the elderly individuals it leads to inadequate and unsafe care, which can result in mistakes, neglect, and abuse.
Call Tittle & Perlmuter Today for a Free Consultation
Understaffed nursing homes can be liable for injuries your loved one suffers from the inadequate care they experience at a facility. Contact the experienced nursing home abuse lawyers at Tittle & Perlmuter. We are ready to listen to your case and advise you on the best course of action. Call (216) 308-1522 for a free consultation or fill out an online contact form. We will promptly respond back to you. We can come to you, and we are happy to meet on weekends or in the evening.