As an advocate in New Jersey for nursing home residents, one of my greatest frustrations has been the lack of oversight for self reported staffing levels. This has lead to an extraordinarily low incidence of short staffing citations – and worse yet, has allowed some understaffed facilities to crow over their lack of such citations.
The reality on the ground is that an alarmingly high number of long term care facilities CHOOSE to short staff their facilities to increase profit levels. By falsifying staffing numbers, they can often evade scrutiny on this extremely important issue. That is, nursing homes rarely have their payroll records cross referenced against their reported staffing numbers – leaving them free to fudge the math. In our cases, we have uncovered such records, but I am fearful that this is just the tip of the iceberg. Indeed, this fear is supported by the confounded families who see barely a foot on the ground, a complete lack of care for their loved ones – yet no citations from the State for failing to meeting staffing requirements.
Recognizing this problem, the White House just announced additional funding to assist authorities in preventing this type of dangerous conduct. In the end, residents will benefit – as will overworked staff who need a helping hand to protect these vulnerable folks. If you or a loved one has been impacted by an understaffed nursing home, contact the New Jersey Nursing Home Abuse Attorneys at Stark & Stark today.