There are a number of federal and state regulations in place that work to better ensure nursing home safety. While a nursing home’s failure to abide by these regulations may be indicative of negligent care of their residents, simply because a nursing home complies with all regulations does not mean that it is adequately protecting its residents. This is because regulations set minimum standards, and even those who meet these low bars can provide substandard care.

This is often seen when staffing shortages put residents at risk. A recent rating of the state’s nursing homes shows just how treacherous this has become. In part due to staffing shortages, 107 New York nursing homes received one out of five stars based on a rating model enacted by the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services. To come to those rankings, the survey considers a number of factors including not only staffing, but also patient injuries, medication management processes and hospitalizations.

One reason so many nursing homes ranked low in the scoring is due to a change in the ratings process. In previous years, nursing homes that had seven or more days in any quarter without a registered nurse on duty were automatically given the lowest rating possible. Now, though, the lowest rating can be given with only four days without a registered nurse onsite. This highlights the importance and the seriousness of having skilled medical professionals present at nursing homes.

Sadly, even nursing homes that are properly staffed in accordance with state and federal regulations can see negligent and abusive employees cause harm to innocent residents. Neglectful staff can cause malnutrition and bedsores to occur, and abusive staff can inflict physical and emotional trauma. All of these harms are unacceptable. Nursing home staff who cause them must be held accountable and so, too, should the nursing homes that employ them. This is why aggressive attorneys stand ready to help pursue legal claims against those whose negligence has resulted in damages.