In our experience almost 80% of all cases against nursing homes for inadequate and negligent care arise from the facility not having enough trained and competent staff on duty. Far too many nursing homes have one or two CNAs taking care of 20 or more residents – an impossible task!
In Kentucky this problem has gotten the attention of politicians running for Governor. Democrat Steve Beshear said yesterday that Kentucky needs to consider requiring minimum staffing levels at nursing homes, but Governor Ernie Fletcher believes the nursing homes should be allowed to determine how many nurses they hire. I can tell you what the nursing home industry does when it is allowed to decide how many staff to hire – they cut corners to increase profits at the expense of good care. It’s called “putting profits over people.”
Unfortunately, my home state of Virginia doesn’t require minimum staffing levels despite repeated attempts by advocacy groups to get such a law passed. Call me a skeptic but I conclude that the nursing home industry is taking some of those profits (increased by lower labor costs) and contributing to the politicians who refuse to pass minimum staffing laws.