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What Are the Appropriate Staffing Levels in Nursing Homes?

Richard Gama
July 26, 2021

Many nursing homes and adult care facilities in the United States are short-staffed. According to data from the Payroll-Based Journal, nearly 75% of nursing homes did not meet the expected registered nurse staffing levels recommended by the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services in 2017 and 2018. When nurses and nursing home staff are stretched thin, mistakes and neglect become much more common, thereby harming the people in their care.

If you're concerned about nursing home negligence due to low staffing levels and the safety of your loved ones, you should consult with an experienced Colorado personal injury attorney for reliable legal counsel.

Here at the Gama Law Firm, we are committed to providing experienced legal guidance and vigorous representation to clients who have been neglected or abused in nursing homes due to insufficient staffing. Our attorneys are available to review your unique situation and provide suitable answers to your questions regarding appropriate staffing levels and what constitutes negligence.

If your loved one has been the victim of neglect or abuse, our team will fight compassionately to protect their rights and help you seek fair financial compensation for their injuries. Our firm is proud to serve clients throughout Aurora, Colorado, and the surrounding areas of Parker, Denver, Castle Pines, and Centennial.

Federal and State Requirements For Nursing Home Staffing

Colorado state statutes require nursing homes and adult care facilities to have sufficient nursing staff that can provide adequate care for all nursing home residents. The staffing requirements are as follows:

  • There must be sufficient staff to provide prompt assistance to residents.

  • A nursing care facility shall provide nurse staffing sufficient in number to provide at least 2.0 hours of nursing time per resident per day.

  • Licensed staff shall include a Registered Nurse (RN), Director of Nursing (DON), and Licensed Vocational Nurse (LVN), or Licensed Practical Nurse (LPN).

  • Every nurse or staff member shall be informed about the condition and suitable care of each resident.

Consequences of Low Staffing

When nursing homes are understaffed, the staff members are often overworked and stretched thin. This often results in staff having to cut corners or spend less time with patients, which can increase the risk of errors, neglect, accidents, and abuse. Some of the consequences of low staffing include:

  • Medication negligence

  • Low standards of care

  • Inadequate supervision, leading to slip and fall accidents

  • Failing to provide medical assistance

  • Failure to keep the premises safe and free of hazards

  • Neglect of essential tasks

Also, understaffing often leads to an increased risk of accidents, malnutrition, infections, dangerous falls, bedsores, weight loss, and other complications for residents.

Proving Negligence

In order to prove negligence and recover damages in a nursing home injury claim, the plaintiff must show that:

  • The nursing home owed a legal duty of care to your elderly loved one.

  • The nursing home breached that duty of care or didn't meet the obligation.

  • The nursing home was negligent when they breached their expected duty of care.

  • The nursing home's negligence caused your loved one's injury or death.

  • You suffered damages due to the injury to, or death of your loved one.

Who Is Liable?

When a nursing home injury or accident occurs, any of the following individuals or entities may be held responsible:

  • The nursing staff who caused the accident or injury.

  • The care facility or its owner for failure to provide a safe environment, standard care, or negligent hiring and training practices.

  • A third party who hired nursing staff for the adult care facility, provided medical supplies and equipment, or professional services to the nursing home.

How Can Low Staffing Impact Patient Care?

Understaffing in nursing homes unfortunately is more common than most people think, and often results in a lower standard of care. The nurses and staff members may have to work under more stress, thereby increasing the chances of abuse and neglect. As the ratio of residents to staff members increases, the standard of care continues to decline, leading to physical illnesses, psychological problems, and unfortunately death for many residents. Nursing staff may also experience physical illnesses and psychological problems due to the increased levels of stress.

How Our Firm Can Help

Unfortunately, inadequate nursing home staffing is among the leading causes of nursing home accidents and neglect. Low staffing levels can compromise care quality as staff members often suffer from excessive stress and inadequate help and support. If you are concerned about nursing home negligence or accidents due to low staffing levels, it is important that you consult with an experienced nursing home injury attorney to help protect your loved one’s rights and safety.

At Gama Law Firm, we have the experience and legal resources needed to assist and represent clients who have been the victim of nursing home abuse or neglect. As your legal counsel, we will review the details of your case, conduct an in-depth investigation, work to prove negligence or abuse, and do everything we can to hold the liable parties accountable. Our team will fight compassionately to protect your loved one's rights and help you seek fair financial compensation for their injuries.

Contact Gama Law Firm today to schedule a one-on-one case assessment with experienced personal injury attorneys. Our team will offer you the comprehensive guidance, support, and vigorous representation you need to pursue fair financial compensation for your loved one's injuries. Our firm is proud to serve clients in Aurora, Colorado, and throughout the neighboring communities in Parker, Denver, Castle Pines, and Centennial.