New Study Shows Nursing Homes Increasing Layoffs

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Nursing Home Attorney shows residents families how to measure the adequacy of nursing home staffing.



The facility must have sufficient nursing staff to provide nursing and related services to attain or maintain the highest practicable, physical, mental, and psychosocial well-being of each resident.

Nursing homes have already felt the impact of cuts in federal and state reimbursement for care, according to a study recently released. The recently released by Avalere Health LLC survey of 292 respondents representing nearly 3,000 facilities across the U.S. indicated:
-- 37 percent were laying off direct care workers, or about 6 percent of their workforce.
-- 74 percent were changing wage rates including reduced or frozen wages.
-- 48 percent plan to cut benefits. Job turnover is expected to be higher.

Boston Massachusetts nursing home abuse attorney Bernard J. Hamill says families need know that there is a correlation between staffing levels and the adequacy of elder care in nursing homes. It is common sense and it is backed by state and federal regulations. The challenge is in interpreting data provided by nursing homes to the government regarding staffing adequacy to insure nursing home residents receive the high quality of care mandated by federal and state regulations. Federal regulations state that staffing must be sufficient to provide the “highest” level of care. 42 CFR Sec.483.30 states:
    “The facility must have sufficient nursing staff to provide nursing and related services to attain or maintain the highest practicable physical, mental, and psychosocial well-being of each resident, as
determined by resident assessments and individual plans of care.”

Each nursing home reports its staffing hours to its state survey agency. These staffing hours are from a two-week period just before the state inspection. The Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) gets nursing home staffing data from the states. Staffing hours per resident per day is the average amount of hours worked divided by the total number of residents. It doesn't necessarily show the number of nursing staff present at any given time, or reflect the amount of care given to any one resident. Attorney Hamill notes an important warning about staffing levels given by Medicare: “These staffing numbers are based on information reported by the nursing home. Currently there is no system to fully verify the accuracy of the staffing data that nursing homes report. Because of this limitation and because staffing levels may have changes since the last inspection, you should be cautious when interpreting the data.”

Attorney Hamill says that to determine staffing sufficiency, you should always look at the state inspection results, particularly any quality of life or quality of care deficiencies. The best way to interpret the staffing levels is use a results driven analysis. Go see for yourself what the quality of care is. No matter what the staffing statistics say, if a loved one is sitting in unclean clothing or poorly hydrated or neglected, then the care is inadequate. If the care is inadequate, then according to federal definitions the cause could easily be understaffing of sufficient well trained aides.

The Hamill Firm of Quincy, Massachusetts concentrates their practice on advocating for elderly nursing home residents and has a successful track record of nursing home verdicts and settlements including the highest emotional distress verdicts ever awarded in Massachusetts for nursing home abuse. The Hamill group encourages all residents injured by neglect or abuse in Massachusetts nursing homes to call for a free evaluation of their claim. If an elder has been injured or died in a Massachusetts nursing home, they may be entitled to compensation for medical expenses, pain and suffering, and or statutory wrongful death damages. The Hamill firm represents elders victimized by criminal assaults. For more information contact the Hamill group at (617) 479-4300 or use the firm's website contact form.

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