Nursing homes are meant to provide people with the care and attention they need when they are elderly, infirm or have conditions that must be addressed. In New York State, people rely on these facilities and trust the staff with their family members. However, a common challenge is abuse, mistreatment, neglect and errors. Part of that is due to the lack of training and oversight for the staff members. Another challenge is the lack of staff in general. People should be attentive to what might be happening to their loved ones and take appropriate action.
New York changes minimum staffing requirements, adding to safety and health concerns
In the spring of 2022, New York State put new regulations in effect, mandating that its more than 600 nursing homes have minimum staffing. If they failed to do so, they received a penalty of $300 each day. However, it has recently changed the rule if the facility shows that it will not be fined if there were extraordinary circumstances preventing them from following it. That can include the facility being severely short on staff or a union dispute.
Individual residents are each legally required to have a minimum of 3.5 hours of care every day. At least 2.2 of those hours must be provided by a certified nursing assistant; another 1.1 hours by a nurse. The facilities are also required to show that they made a good faith attempt to hire enough workers with adequate pay and compensation. Fines can reach $2,000 per day for failing to comply.
Nursing home operators waged legal fights against the regulations. Staffing has been a challenge for many facilities in recent years as the number of caregivers who left their nursing home jobs numbered around 229,000 since early 2020. This is a concern for family members and residents because facilities without proper staff can face a litany of problems in providing adequate care.
Lack of staffing puts residents at risk and families should be vigilant
People in nursing homes need medication, proper nutrition, therapy, cleanliness and treatment. The absence of staffing could jeopardize people leading to illness and injury. In addition, there is a chance that people will be abused or mistreated when there are fewer trained staff members around. Those who are not qualified to perform specific duties might be forced to do them, putting people in jeopardy.
If there is a belief that loved ones were harmed, became ill, suffered a condition or lost their lives due to nursing home abuse and neglect due to a lack of staffing or for any other reason, having help with investigating the situation can be beneficial to holding the facility accountable.