A recent story about the Van Duyn nursing home in Syracuse indicates that understaffed nursing homes may be providing substandard care on weekend.
According to authorities, nursing home residents should get at least 4.1 hours of care per day. That is time that each staffer should be devoting to helping each resident handle their ADLs such as showering, dressing, toileting, and eating. State law mandates that all residents receive at least 3.5 hours of nursing care.
In addition, workers should be responsible for no more than 7 residents. In many nursing homes, workers are responsible for 12 to 25 residents instead.
According to the American Health Care Association/National Center for Assisted Living (AHCA/NCAL), 61% of all nursing homes have staffing shortages. There is a strong correlation between understaffed nursing homes and resident deaths due to infections, weight loss, falls, bedsores, and dehydration.
It is the responsibility of every nursing home to ensure that they have sufficient staff to meet the needs of residents every day of the week. If they cannot do this they need to limit admissions or close so that every patient in their care can receive the time and attention they need. While few nurses wish to work the weekend it is incumbent upon the facility to either hire weekend-specific staff members or to offer incentives to ensure the cost of care is covered. The nursing home may not and must not rely on family members and visitors to “pick up the slack."
The nursing home industry attempts to sell the public on the idea that they can’t possibly afford to pay higher wages or take the steps they’d need to take in order to solve their staffing problems. Yet no small few of them are taking steps to enrich themselves at the expense of their residents. These are, for the most part, for-profit institutions, and like all for-profit institutions they operate with the sole goal of maximizing their profit.
Fortunately, New York also has a direct care ratio, limiting profits and forcing nursing homes to direct more of their funds to care.
If your family members are not getting the care that they are entitled to under state law and are getting hurt or sick as a result, then you do have the power to launch a personal injury lawsuit on their behalf. Profits shouldn’t come at the cost of your loved one’s life.