Feroleto Law, Buffalo NY

Another Buffalo Nursing Home Fined. Insufficient Staffing Is Dangerous For Patients

Another Buffalo nursing home was fined. It was cited for staffing deficiencies. As much as you may not want to do it, sometimes you need to call a Buffalo nursing home attorney. Sapphire Rehabilitation of Southtowns, located in Buffalo New York, was fined for its deficiency. However, the maximum fine set by the New York State Health Department for this deficiency is only $7000. A drop in the bucket.

The Sapphire nursing home has more than 100 residents. Understaffing is reportedly a recurring problem. In 2019, New York State Health Department cited two nursing homes in Buffalo Niagara for insufficient staffing. New York State agency has come under scrutiny for allowing nursing homes to operate without a sufficient number of nurses. If your loved one is unnecessarily harmed due to insufficient staffing, you may need to talk with a personal injury lawyer who represents nursing home abuse cases.

Unions for nursing home workers seek legislation setting a minimum staffing level for nursing homes. This is important for nursing home workers and our loved ones in nursing homes. Currently, nursing homes are supposed to have “sufficient” levels of staffing, without specific ratios of staff to patients. This allows far too much vagueness and danger to our seniors in nursing homes.

Insufficient staffing can cause injury and harm to residents whose care is entrusted to nursing home management.  Sapphire’s records show the nursing home failed to meet its own internal guidelines for minimum staffing 21 of 51 shifts that were reviewed for a period during the summer of 2019.

The federal government uses a star system to rate nursing homes. One star is the lowest rating, five stars in the highest. Sapphire’s rating is the lowest, one. Residents and staff told state inspectors the understaffing was having serious consequences. One resident said to inspectors that she was not taken out of bed all day because of the lack of staff to help her. She said it happens often. Another resident told investigators that her morning medications, including pain medication, were not given to her until two in the afternoon. One staff member expressed concern that he was unable to complete required resident checks every two hours, as he is required to do, because he was charged with covering too many residents by himself.

Another staff member expressed concern about what would happen if there was an emergency or fire and not being able to do everything necessary for safety.

Staffing shortages can cause many types of injuries and problems to our mothers, fathers and loved ones in a nursing home. These can include dehydration, falls, exacerbation of illnesses, pressure ulcers, which are also called bedsores. The majority of bedsores are avoidable by proper change of position of the resident, proper hydration and nutrition. Unfortunately, they are very painful injuries that are difficult to correct once they occur. It is often difficult to get information from the nursing home, sometimes you need to call the personal injury attorney who handles nursing home lawsuits. Many people are reluctant to sue a nursing home, due to concerns about what will happen to their loved one.

Sapphire of Southtowns nursing home’s short staffing is not new. In two years, the nursing home owners were cited five times for insufficient staffing. Although $7000 is the maximum amount that can be fined in this case it adds to fines in the past five years, which now total nearly $100,000. One must wonder if it is cheaper for the nursing home operators to pay a $7000 fine, then to provide adequate and proper staffing for its residents.

Understaffing is not the only problem at Sapphire. In 2016, it was fined approximately $86,000 when the health department learned that a blood glucose meter was not disinfected when testing up to 20 residents, including residents who had known communicable diseases.

If you are concerned about your mother, father, or other loved one getting improper or negligent care in a nursing home, or rehab facility you can call the nursing home abuse attorneys at Feroleto Law at 716-854-0700 for a confidential no obligation consultation.