Concerns of Neglect in US Nursing Homes
Photo of Attorneys T. Noel Brooks and Jesse Baez walking outside.
Photo of T. Noel Brooks and Jesse Baez

Concerns of Neglect in US Nursing Homes

On Behalf of | Jul 20, 2023 | Personal Injury

Virginia has nearly 300 nursing facilities, providing over 32,000 patient beds and generating over $4.3 million in revenue. According to the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS), as of July 2012, around 1.2 million people resided in over 15,000 certified nursing facilities located throughout the U.S. Most nursing homes in the U.S. are certified to serve as long-term care facilities for the elderly and as skilled nursing facilities for the debilitated. However, many facilities are now associated with a culture of neglect.

Nursing homes and neglect

Short-changing direct-care staff, typically women and people of color, with poor training and low wages, has been the formula for maximizing profits at many nursing facilities. This trend has compelled a litany of lawsuits and enforcement actions citing nursing homes for operating on an inadequate ratio of residents to staff that leads to neglect and poor care. In a 2020 report, one state inspector reported a facility of 100 residents operating with only four direct-care nurses per day shift.

More on nursing home neglect

In another state’s inspection report, residents complained about being unable to find the nursing staff, causing them to miss their daily medications. The inspection revealed multiple residents missing medications for heart problems, blood clotting, hypertension and pain. In 2020, over 15,000 complaints were filed with nursing home ombudsmen about neglect or abuse. According to the National Center for Victims of Crime, nearly 50% of nursing home complaints involve residents suffering personal injuries.

Many certified nursing assistants responsible for most of these facilities’ direct care and physical lifting are paid less than $15 per hour. Most states staff less than the 2001 CMS recommendation of delivering 4.1 hours of nursing care per resident to mitigate the risks associated with falls and bedsores. The federal study guidelines suggest one nurse per seven residents on day and evening shifts. According to the CMS, 51% of the nursing homes in Virginia are below average.