Published on:

Common Nursing Home Fines and Violations

Nationwide, nearly 15,000 nursing homes accept benefits and payments from Medicare and Medicaid. Nearly 10,000 of these homes are for-profit facilities, 4,000 are non-profit, and 1,000 are government-owned. Overall, most facilities average between 100-199 beds, and the next highest percentage of nursing homes average 50-99 beds. Facilities that receive Medicare and Medicaid must follow stringent guidelines set forth by the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS). To be eligible to receive these benefits and funding, they must agree to be subject to inspections by CMS investigators and employees.

When it comes to evaluating a nursing home for a loved one, data regarding inspections is publicly available. Inspection results can be accessed online. Facilities in all states are rated on numerous factors, such as Health Inspections, Staffing, and Quality Measures. Below are common violations for nursing home facilities.

Understaffing

  • According to CMS, nurse staffing “has the greatest impact on the quality of care nursing homes deliver.” Per CMS, when staffing levels increase, quality tends to increase as well. Low staff levels can contribute to poor care of residents, as there are less employees to administer medications, deliver food, take residents to the bathroom, look for symptoms of illness, and watch after fall risks. Nursing homes with more staff members typically have less instances of resident hospitalization. Further, nurses that are overworked, stressed, and scrambling all over the place are more likely to make mistakes.

Failed health inspections

  • Nursing home regulators look towards all of a nursing home’s operations as they relate to residents’ health. Inspectors commonly look towards a resident’s right to be free from abuse and neglect, nutrition goals, dietary standards, and pharmaceutical standards. Nurses should also meet basic health requirements on behalf of residents, such as taking appropriate measures to prevent pressure ulcers from either forming or getting worse. Patients should be administered the proper medication in proper doses, and drugs should be properly labeled, locked, and separated. Another point of emphasis is taking steps to prevent the spread of diseases and illnesses. Nursing homes can be fined for not properly sterilizing equipment or keeping the facility clean. With hundreds of people living in close quarters, illnesses can spread quickly in this setting.

Failure to monitor patients

  • Certain measures must be taken, for example, if a resident is deemed to be a fall risk. For instance, more extensive resident monitoring is required, as these individuals are more susceptible to falls, possibly due to age, muscle weakness, issues with gait, and medication side effects such as dizziness. Other fall risk residents may be completely immobile and wheelchair-bound. Studies have shown that between 16 and 27 percent of nursing home falls occur due to “environmental hazards” like poor lighting or slippery floors. The law places the burden on a nursing home to identify which residents may be fall risks and provide them with a safe environment, which may include installing safety rails on the bed and handles for the resident to grab onto.

Nahon, Saharovich & Trotz is dedicated to fighting for the rights of people hurt as a result of another’s negligence. Our firm takes pride in helping injured people secure justice. With offices in Tennessee, Arkansas, Mississippi, and Missouri, we have the resources to fully investigate our client’s case and retain experts necessary to prove liability and damages. For a free consultation with one of our nursing home negligence lawyers today, contact us at 800-529-4004 or complete our online form. Our nursing home practice group specializes in cases involving neglect and medical negligence, and we are available to speak with you today for a free case review.

Justia Lawyer Rating