The Care Quality Commission recently published a report called “The state of health care and adult social care in England” that reveals problems that are universal to long-term care facilities. The report concluded that three factors can be linked to low quality of care in nursing homes: a culture where substandard care is the norm; care that is task based rather than specially tailored to meet individual resident needs; and high turnover rates or poor deployment of staff.
What these three factors have in common is that they all have to do with the nursing home’s staff. The quality of a nursing home’s staff is central to providing your loved one with the care the he or she needs and deserves. Unfortunately, however, the study found 25% of nursing homes to be understaffed. Although California law requires a minimum of 3.2 nursing hours per patient day, having sufficient numbers of staff cannot be so simply quantified. The study considered inadequate staffing to be any level of staffing that prevented the facility from providing a high quality of care to its patients.
This proposes an alternative approach toward staffing levels that is instead based on patient acuity needs. David Behan, chief executive of the commission, asserts that “Health and care services need to rise to the challenge of responding to the increasingly complex conditions suffered by our ageing population. That means delivering care that is based on the person’s needs, not care that suits the way organisations work.” In fact, it is your loved one’s right under Health and Safety Code 1599.1 (a) to reside in a nursing home that is staffed to meet the needs of all residents at all times. Any breach of this duty on part of the nursing home affects the allocation of staff and resources and negatively impacts the care provided to all residents of the facility.
The study focused on mismanagement of drugs as a result of understaffing, which occurred in 22% of skilled nursing facilities. This can include chemical restraints, polypharmacy, and the use of drugs for off-label purposes, which can all lead to dangerous adverse drug reactions.
Also considered when evaluating the quality of care of a nursing home was dignity and nutrition. Many residents were spoken to condescendingly, did not receive privacy, or could not reach their call lights. In fact, the study found that 15% of nursing homes did not employ staff that treated its patients with respect. Some other common injuries that can be indicative of poor quality of care in nursing homes are pressure sores, dehydration, and infections.
If your loved one has suffered any of the injuries discussed above, he or she may be a victim of nursing home neglect. Here at the Law Offices of Ben Yeroushalmi, our elder abuse specialists understand the sensitive nature of nursing home litigation. We have successfully dealt with numerous cases and we are confident that we can provide you with the legal services that you and your loved one need. Contact us today for a free consultation.