Staffing Issues in South Carolina Nursing Homes Lead to Neglect and Abuse
Charleston, South Carolina Nursing Home Staffing Problems Explained
Some of the country’s most vulnerable adults are experiencing subpar care at South Carolina nursing homes or assisted living facilities. Dangerous conditions arise from undertrained staff members or understaffed facilities, which can cause elder residents to suffer from severe injuries or additional illnesses. Nursing home facilities may overlook their internal operations, be unwilling to redistribute revenue to promote better training programs or hire enough staff, and be unable to find qualified staff to provide excellent care.
At the Steinberg Law Firm, we fight for the rights of elderly residents. Do not let nursing home facilities dictate the type of care your loved one receives. By law, facilities must adhere to protocols and provide their residents with the care they need, which meets the South Carolina Nursing Home Resident Bill of Rights.
Under South Carolina law, nursing homes must abide by specific standards and regulations when hiring, training, and staffing their employees. Measures include reviewing employees’ criminal backgrounds, reviewing employees’ work experience, setting proper schedules, and ensuring employee retention. Despite these extensive rules, nursing homes continue practices that can harm their residents’ health and safety.
The adverse effects of improper training increase when a nursing home staff member forgets how to do specific procedures, which can affect a person’s physical or psychological well-being. Appropriate training at all levels, from upper management to staff, is crucial for maintaining consistency of acceptable care.
For example, a nursing home facility may be responsible for undertraining if it has failed to check a candidate’s references, fully train new hires, or retrain employees on new protocols and other safety measures. Further, nursing home facilities may place undertrained staff in precarious situations without confirming that the employee’s skillset is enough to complete the job duties. Research indicates that higher trained staff members such as registered nurses (RNs) and certified nursing assistants (CNAs) are excellent quality of care indicators. If there is a decrease in the quality of care, managers must reevaluate their teams and work on making necessary internal changes.
Understaffed Nursing Homes
If understaffing is present in nursing homes, it threatens the quality of physical care that residents must receive. Under the current government payment system, most nursing homes retain autonomy on how to allocate their resources. Most nursing homes are for-profit facilities with a focus on maximizing profits. The profit incentive often correlates with low staffing. Research indicates that facilities with the highest profit margins run with more inadequate staffing and more violations. Currently, across the United States, it is estimated that 99 percent of nursing homes and 96 percent of assisted living facilities are facing staffing shortages.
Nursing homes certified for Medicare and Medicaid residents must also comply with staffing and training requirements under 42 CFR § 483.35. Unfortunately, some nursing homes evade this requirement. This negligence can result in unsafe environments for the aging adults who reside at these facilities.
The Biden-Harris administration has also implemented new monitoring efforts. The goal is to have more transparency from nursing home facilities across the US. On Medicare.gov, users can now search for nursing homes within their state and receive updated information on staff turnover, weekend staffing levels, and specific ratings for nursing home facilities.
At the Heartland of West Ashley, there is an average of 78 residents each day. The facility’s one-star rating indicates a possible high turnover rate and understaffing issues. At Riverside Health and Rehab, there is an average of 152 residents each day. The facility holds a two-star rating, indicating the low quality of care. Knowing the rating of a facility, family and friends should be extra diligent about checking their loved ones for signs of neglect, including bed sores, dehydration, poor hygiene, weight loss, broken bones, and depression. If neglect is suspected at a South Carolina nursing home facility, the next step is to contact an experienced Steinberg Law Firm attorney.
Consequences of Undertraining and Understaffing
Nursing home residents rely on staff for their physical care. If undertraining and understaffing are present, disastrous consequences can occur, including:
- Medication Errors: Undertrained or overworked staff may make more mistakes when apportioning doses or administering medications.
- Neglect: It may be physically impossible for staff members ensuring residents are bathing, getting enough to eat and drink, using the bathroom at appropriate intervals, and being turned to avoid bedsores.
- Falls: Nursing home residents rely on staff members to move throughout the facility. Thus, if a resident’s calls for assistance go unanswered, they may try to get up independently, increasing the fall risk.
- Abuse: Overworked staff members are more likely to abuse residents out of frustration. Additionally, if staff members are not present, they may be unable to detect resident-on-resident abuse.
Historically, federal and state enforcement of nursing home regulations has been weak in protecting residents. Many residents and their families who encounter this type of living environment and health care may pursue a nursing home neglect claim or a wrongful death claim to recover compensation for their injuries.
Is a Nursing Homes Staffing Failure Impacting the Well-being of Your Loved One?
If you have a loved one living at a South Carolina nursing home and believe that staffing issues are leading to nursing home neglect, reach out to the dedicated personal injury and wrongful death lawyers at the Steinberg Law Firm. At the Steinberg Law Firm, we have 95 years of experience aggressively advocating for the injured. We are honored to have served our community for as long as we have and look forward to discussing how we can help you pursue justice on behalf of your family. To learn more and schedule a free consultation with a Charleston nursing home neglect attorney today, call (843) 720-2800. You can also connect with us through our online contact form.
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