Nursing Home Negligence in Georgia – Understaffing in Nursing Homes

Nursing homes exist to take care of patients who cannot take care of themselves, so one of the most basic requirements for nursing homes is to hire enough caregivers to handle the patients they accept.

Some nursing homes choose to cut costs by hiring fewer people while still accepting the same number of patients. Even if a nursing home wants to hire more people, but can’t due to difficulty in the labor pool, the nursing home must only accept the number of residents they can handle. Nursing home residents need around-the-clock care and watchful eyes and helping hands, and a staff needs to care for them 24/7.

Understaffing is a critical issue and, if harm comes to a resident because of inadequate staffing, you may have a nursing home negligence case.

What Level of Care is Required in Georgia Nursing Homes?

Nursing home residents cannot care for themselves at home and require the care of trained medical professionals and caregivers. The needs of residents vary, with some unable to walk on their own, completely immobile, or mentally incapacitated. They often need help with daily care activities like going to the bathroom, washing, getting dressed, grooming, eating, walking or movement, and getting necessary medication.

If not carefully attended to, residents can experience:

  • Bedsores that can lead to infection.
  • Illnesses that turn to pneumonia without watchful care.
  • Poor hygiene and soiled clothing/bed sheets.
  • Malnutrition.
  • Incontinence due to inadequate bathroom breaks.
  • Bruises, broken bones, or other injuries from falls.

What Level of Care is Required in Georgia Nursing Homes?

Almost all nursing homes receive Medicare and Medicaid funding, and these nursing homes must hold to a certain standard of staffing care. They must provide 24-hour licensed nursing services that are “sufficient to meet nursing needs of residents” and must have a registered professional nurse working at least 8 consecutive hours a day, 7 days a week.

In the state of Georgia, sufficient nursing staff must be on duty at all times. There must be one licensed registered nurse (RN) or licensed practical nurse (LPN) on duty for each 8-hour shift. This is required for 24 hours, seven days a week.

The RN/LPN to total nursing personnel ratio must be 1:7. There must also be direct care staff available for 2 hours per resident day (hprd) or 2.5 hprd for Medicaid level I and II.

It is critical for nursing homes to hire enough staff to take care of their residents. If a nursing home has a tough time finding staff, they should either pay higher wages to attract more staff or recognize that they must accept fewer residents. At no point can a nursing home accept a resident whom it isn’t staffed to care for. Sometimes, nursing homes will hire a minimal number of employees and overreport their staffing while their residents suffer the consequences.

Get Help From Experienced Nursing Home Negligence Attorneys in Georgia

If your loved one has been harmed due to understaffing at a nursing home facility, contact the Atlanta nursing home abuse lawyers at Pope & Howard. Our team, led my co-founders Marc Howard and Geoff Pope, will help you seek compensation for injuries and harm. Call us today at (404) 885-9999 to schedule a free consultation about your Georgia nursing home case.

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