If your loved one is residing in an assisted care or skilled nursing facility in South Florida, be mindful of the fact that a holiday nursing home accident in Fort Lauderdale could spell grave difficulties in 2019.
The winter holidays are often one of the best times for nursing home residents, frequently packed with parties, decorations, family visits and outings – maybe even the occasional visits home for special holiday celebrations. However, patients and residents can also be at heightened risk for injuries resulting from a fall, medication errors, improper lifting, carelessness in feeding/ observing dietary restrictions, fire hazards, negligence in transport, fewer physician hours (or substitute physicians filling in) and lower staffing (especially at facilities that can scarcely afford fewer workers on the floor as it is). In some instances, the steady stream of visitors in and out caused nursing home staffers not to carefully vet everyone entering or exiting – leading to patients either wandering out dangerously on their own or allowing potentially predatory visitors in who shouldn’t be.
Although these potential perils exist in nursing homes year-round, the holidays tend to be a particularly hectic time. Most of the time, a holiday nursing home accident could have been prevented with a little extra care and planning – something skilled nursing facility owners and medical staff have a responsibility to provide when such incidents are reasonably foreseeable.
Scheduling Problems, Short Staffing, Can Lead to Holiday Nursing Home Accident in Fort Lauderdale
As noted by the U.S. Department of Justice, federal minimum staffing levels at skilled nursing or nursing facilities is currently 1 registered nurse for 8 consecutive hours daily 7 days weekly and 1 registered nurse and licensed vocational nurse on the remaining shifts. Staffing care minimums in Florida are outlined in F.S. 400.23(3)(a)(1), which indicates vaguely that there must be “sufficient staff to maintain the highest practical physical mental and psychological well-being of each resident.” It further stipulates a minimum of at least one certified nursing assistant for every 20 residents and one LPN/LVN for every 40 residents, with each patient receiving a weekly average of 2.9 hours of direct care from these professionals. There must also be one full-time registered nurse (RN) on the floor at all times for every 120 patients and another added when facilities go above that, each patient receiving at least one hour of weekly care from the RN. It doesn’t take someone well-versed in nursing home neglect and negligence to know this is woefully inadequate to provide every patient with “the highest well-being” of every resident, and many nursing homes are known to cut corners.
As noted this summer in an analysis of Medicare payroll records of nursing home employees by Kaiser Health News, revealing strong evidence that for the last 10 years, the federal government’s five-star rating system improperly inflated nursing home staffing levels and failed to identify times when staffing levels were especially threadbare. One 47-year-old patient told the news outlet that on weekends, “It was almost like a ghost town.”
It also means the staffers who are working are going to burn out much more quickly.
Over the winter holidays, staffing tends to be even sparser, with individuals taking additional vacation time. Patients are endangered – sometimes leading to a holiday nursing home accident in Fort Lauderdale – anytime nurses or other staff skip holidays, weekends or other late-night shifts. To give you an idea of the level of care your loved one is getting around this time, visit on an off-hour and take note of who is there and whether it seems residents are truly being cared for.
If your loved one is injured or dies as a result of a holiday nursing home accident, call our experienced Fort Lauderdale nursing home neglect attorneys promptly.
Call Freeman Injury Law — 1-800-561-7777 for a free appointment to discuss your rights. Now serving Orlando, West Palm Beach, Port St. Lucie and Plantation.
Christmas Day Death at Wilmington nursing home raises new questions, Jan. 19, 2018, By Kay Lazar, The Boston Globe
Most nursing homes are not adequately staffed, new federal data says, July 13, 2018, By Jordan Rau, Kaiser Health News
More Blog Entries:
Florida Nursing Home Wrongful Death Sepsis: More Common Than Realized, Nov. 24, 2018, Fort Lauderdale Nursing Home Injury Lawyer Blog