Understaffing In California Nursing Homes Leads To Medical Errors by James Ballidis

November 25 [Mon], 2013, 12:50
Understaffing In California Nursing Homes Leads To Medical Errors by James Ballidis

Recently, a Humboldt County Superior Court awarded $670 million to the members of a class-action lawsuit against Orange-County-based Skilled Healthcare Group Inc
fashion designer chenximei905 More information please visit: www.onlinebagcolumn.com. The jury found the healthcare company, which maintains 22 California nursing homes, liable for understaffing. Despite asserting that it had complied with California state law by providing each patient with 3.2 nursing hours daily, Skilled Healthcare opted to settle with the patients who had filed the lawsuit and is scheduled to pay out $50 million in settlement money.

Understaffing in California nursing homes is a pervasive problem, resulting in numerous medical errors and injuries every year. In Orange County, a jury recently awarded over $3 million to a patient who sustained a brain injury as a result of a medication error committed by the staff at the nursing home in which she had been staying. The nonprofit organization, �California Watch,� found that the owners of the nursing home, Covenant Care, provided insufficient staffing in the facility in which the patient was staying, as well as in the 24 other California nursing homes it maintains. Medication errors are all too common in nursing homes, with one in five dosing orders improperly filled; this risk increases in understaffed homes Louis Vuitton Thanksgiving Day.

In Northern California, understaffing may also have played a role in the case of an 85-year-old man who died after falling and sustaining a serious head injury in the nursing home in which he was staying. Prior to the accident, the man�s doctor had ordered the staff to install an electronic fall monitor and to ensure his walker was in reach at all times. Investigators found that the staff neglected to follow either of these medical orders�orders that, if carried out, may have prevented the man from falling. Staff members conducted a neurological evaluation on the man after finding him lying on the floor and determined he was unharmed from the fall. However, when the man become sick that night, staff members could not examine him for head injuries or contact his doctor because there was no registered nurse on duty. The man died after being taken to the hospital.

The fact that nursing homes are able to bill the state for administrative costs like legal fees has been a major setback to enforcing staffing requirements in California. If state regulators site a home for violations, the state will ultimately end up paying that home's legal fees to fight the violation-resulting in a vicious circle in which the very taxpayers that the 2004 law was meant to protect end up paying for nursing homes to evade penalties and continue putting citizens at the risk of suffering injuries from medical errors and negligence.

In recent months, state officials have discussed plans to better regulate staffing levels in California nursing homes, such as auditing payrolls and fining homes for understaffing. Until this plan is finalized and effectively implemented, Californians should thoroughly research nursing homes prior to seeking their services, checking for past complaints and violations, as well as staffing policies.


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