Nursing Home Neglect Incites Plans for Federal Staffing Minimums: Decades of evidence shows that insufficient staffing leads to a higher occurrence of nursing home neglect, poor care, and other evidence of nursing home malpractice.

The Biden Administration is formulating plans for federal staffing minimum requirements for American nursing homes, says the Washington Post, as evidence continues to show that nursing homes with low levels of nurse staffing have more frequent occurrences of resident complications that demonstrate nursing home malpractice.

According to the National Institutes of Health, since the 1980s it has been “common knowledge” within the nursing home industry that inadequate nursing staff within a nursing home has a negative impact both on the quality of care residents receive and the quality of life residents can have—deficiencies that add up to a classic definition of nursing home malpractice. But even with the 2001 release of a study by the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) that found 4.1 hours of nursing care per resident per day (or one nurse per seven residents for day and evening shifts) was the minimum to avoid incidents of nursing home malpractice like allowing residents to fall or to develop bed sores, no requirement was implemented. And even with years of studies, inspections, and lawsuits since 2001 that have evidenced the link between low staffing and poor quality of care, a low percentage of American nursing homes—about 33 percent as of 2019, says the article—meet the 4.1 hours recommended by CMS.

The article included examples of enforcement actions and lawsuits filed against nursing homes to illustrate how insufficient staffing can result in incidents of nursing home malpractice. Among the cited examples of nursing home malpractice as a result of poor staffing included the following:

  • A Washington state nursing home where there were four nurses for 110 residents; multiple residents received their insulin hours late, and others received insufficient wound care or were left untreated for pain.
  • A Detroit nursing home where scheduled nurses called out for the weekend, leaving no nurses to distribute medications for pain, hypertension, blood clotting, and heart problems.
  • A Chicago nursing home with between 2-4 caregivers for 72 residents, who often were left bedridden in their own urine and feces.
  • The Brighton Rehabilitation and Wellness Center in Beaver, Pa., upon which Pennsylvania National Guard troops descended in the spring of 2020 during a COVID-19 outbreak that ranked among the worst in the nation. Allegations of staffing violations led to a subsequent federal investigation, resulting in criminal indictments against executives and administrators.

Nursing home neglect incites plans for federal staffing minimums, which are expected to come down in 2023. They will be formulated based on a new analysis of nursing home processes and will need to overcome nursing home lobbyists, who prevailed over a 2016 proposal for a national staffing minimum.

Defending Against Nursing Home Malpractice and Wrongful Death

As a nursing home malpractice and wrongful death attorney, Brian P. Murphy tirelessly fights to uphold the health and safety of residents in Philadelphia/PA and NJ nursing homes. You should feel confident that your loved one living in a Pennsylvania or New Jersey nursing home will receive the proper amount and quality of care he or she deserves. Years of experience as a wrongful death attorney fighting negligent Philadelphia/PA and NJ nursing homes has equipped Brian Murphy to successfully resolve numerous nursing home malpractice cases. Should you find yourself needing to contact a nursing home malpractice and wrongful death attorney, call Brian Murphy today to discuss your legal options.