A Missouri man has filed suit against St. Sophia Health & Rehabilitation Center, a facility located in Florissant, MO, claiming the nursing home allowed his mother to die after leaving her in a hot tub for eight hours. Geriatric Management runs this nursing home, and they own 22 nursing homes across four states. The victim, 88, suffered from Ahlzheimer’s, dementia, depression, heart disease, hypertension, and muscle weakness, among other medical conditions. The lawsuit accuses St. Sophia of understaffing, claiming the facility did not provide sufficient support for all patients in the home, which allowed his mother to remain in the hot tub unattended. After her death, government officials investigated and inspected St. Sophia, finding that many residents were in “immediate jeopardy.”
Understaffing is a major issue at nursing homes across the country. While nursing homes are required to provide sufficient resources to properly care for their patients, this does not always happen. Instead, some facilities deliberately choose to place profits over people, knowing they can save money by hiring less staff members. Other times, nursing homes simply cannot find enough qualified workers who have the necessary skills and training, such as a certified nursing assistant (CNA).
An understaffed nursing home can create a chaotic environment. Without enough staff members, those who are employed may feel overwhelmed and exhausted. This can lead to mistakes like failing to check on patients when required, medication errors, and leaving patients unattended for long periods of time, similar to the 88-year-old Missouri woman with difficulty moving/walking being allowed to remain in a hot tub for eight hours without anybody coming to check on her. It can also lead to frustration among staff members that be taken out on the patients. Nursing homes should provide compassionate care, but overworked, tired, and stressed employees are more likely to abuse patients or use chemical restraints to deal with patients whom they feel are unruly.
It is easy to see how understaffing is a slippery slope that can lead to sub-optimal care. Unfortunately, despite clear evidence regarding how it causes harm, nursing home companies still choose to engage in it. Each year, lawsuits are filed on behalf of patients who were injured and did not receive the attention they deserved while residing in nursing homes. Further, Attorney General offices across the country conduct investigations and warn facilities of these dangers. In extreme circumstances, the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) will get involved and revoke Medicare and Medicaid funding and reimbursement.
If you notice a loved one not being properly cared for, you should report this immediately to nursing home management and the proper authorities, if necessary. Steps can be taken by government officials to step in and investigate. Many investigations lead to fines and the nursing home having to take steps to correct obvious issues. Further, individual caregivers may be subject to criminal charges for their actions.
Victims also have the right to pursue damages in civil court for harm caused by neglect. Call Nahon, Saharovich & Trotz if a loved one has been hurt or killed due to nursing home negligence or neglect. We are a large regional plaintiff’s personal injury law firm, representing victims of nursing home abuse and neglect in Tennessee, Missouri, Arkansas, Mississippi, and Kentucky. Each case has a specific statute of limitation so you should not delay in seeking legal advice. Call NST at 800-529-4004 or complete our online form for a free consultation. Our team can take steps needed to investigate your claim and consult with experts where appropriate. We understand the importance of analyzing all potential avenues and theories of recovery in an effort to fight for maximum compensation for each injured client. THAT’S THE NST WAY.