California nursing home settles with AG’s office

A California nursing home chain has reached a settlement with the California Attorney General’s office to increase staff in 20 of its facilities and pay for a monitor to insure the nursing home are in compliance with minimum staffing levels and are providing proper documentation reports the Los Angeles Times.

Skilled Healthcare Group, Inc. has been under investigation by the California Department of Justice for some time for neglecting patients. According to the Attorney General’s office, patients suffered from bed sores, dehydration, malnutrition and were being over medicated due to inadequate staffing.

In the agreement with the AG’s office, Skilled Healthcare has agreed to pay for an independent monitor, which will cost the company approximately $350,000 per year.

In 2010, a class action suit against Skilled Healthcare was won by plaintiff’s who were awarded $670 by a jury but the award was reduced to $50 million.

Inadequate Staffing Chronic Problem in Nursing Homes

Because of the for-profit of so many nursing homes, often the staffing levels are not up to par and this is one of the reasons that neglect can occur. Couple that with high staff turnover and it is a recipe for disaster.

Federal Law Requirements for Staffing

According to Federal laws, nursing homes that have been certified by Medicaid or Medicare are required to have a registered nurse (RN) director of nursing (DON); an RN on duty 8 hours of the day every day; and a licensed registered nurse (RN) or licensed practical nurse on duty the rest of the time. However, the Federal requirements does not specify minimum requirements for certified nursing assistants (CNAs) who provide most of the hands-on care.

According to Social Security Law, Sec. 1919. [42 U.S.C. 1396r], nursing homes must “care for its residents in such a manner and such an environment as will promote maintenance or enhancement of the quality of life of each resident.”

How Can Inadequate Staffing Lead to Bed sores?

Bed sores or pressure sores are a common name for decubitus ulcers. Bed sores are often a red flag that a patient in a nursing home is being neglected. Bed sores are injuries to the skin and underlying tissue over a bony area. They can develop as a result of pressure or friction. Common areas where bed sores can occur are at the base of the spine, the buttocks, hips or the heels but they can also occur on the back of the head, elbows, knees and ankles.

Bed sores can be treated by frequently repositioning the patient, providing a balanced diet with enough protein and keeping the skin clean and dry. If left untreated, a deep ulcer can form and a patient can experience life-threatening complications.

When a nursing home is adequately staffed, not enough time is provided to each patient and when a patient is not frequently repositioned and cleaned the bed sore can develop. And, in some cases, staff are not trained to recognize and treat bedsores when they do occur.

Bellevue Attorney Represents Nursing Home Patients and their Families

The Farber Law Group, an injury law firm located in Bellevue, Washington represents victims of nursing home neglect and their families. In most cases, it is the family of an elderly person who reaches out to an attorney after their loved one has been injured due to nursing home neglect. An attorney can insure that a patient’s rights are protected. And, if there are serious injuries, that compensation be obtained so that the patient can have proper care.

If you or a loved one has suffered serious injuries including fractured hips or bed sores in a nursing home or long-term care facility, contact us today for a free and confidential case evaluation. Our Toll Free number is 1-800-244-9087.

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