Understaffing: Ohio’s Nursing Home Crisis

Long hallway with unattended door at the end

Do your loved one’s nursing hallways look like this? Understaffing could be the cause. This article will touch on the dangers of understaffing in nursing homes.

In an article in the Columbus Dispatch reports that nursing home understaffing has reached concerning levels. The article states that changes in federal regulations has resulted in more transparency, now we have more accurate information regarding staffing levels because nursing homes are required to report daily payroll records and verify staffing levels.

The article states:

The new data has made it clear that as many as 70 percent of nursing homes nationwide had been overstating their actual staffing levels by an average of 12 percent. Of 56 central Ohio nursing homes, about 40 percent had below-average staff levels, according to a national analysis of the new data.

This information is significant because this is really the bare minimum number of staff any nursing home has to have for the least care-intensive residents possible.  If you don’t have at least this number of staff, you ought to be shut down. 40 percent of Central Ohio nursing homes fall below this minimum. What Ohio’s minimum numbers misses is any relationship to the care needs of the residents in the nursing home

Expected Staffing Levels is the amount of nursing minutes available per resident based on the residents’ collective care needs, according to Medicare.

Medicare didn’t just put the care needed evaluation forms (MDS) together and broke residents into Resource Utilization Groups.  Medicare also paid for studies to figure out the right amount of nursing staff required based on a resident being in one of those groups.  Take all the RUG scores together, add up the number of minutes of each type of nursing staff for each resident, and presto, you have your Expected Staffing Levels.

That’s right: Medicare paid for studies so that nursing homes could immediately know the amount of nursing staff–for each type of nursing staff, down to the minute–they need to have to care for residents.

The article continues to describe the risks of understaffing:

It’s not hard to see how a shortage of personnel could translate into serious patient safety and health issues in a nursing home. Falls, which can lead to broken bones with dire consequences among the elderly, are at much higher risk when there are not enough staff members available to help a fragile nursing-home resident with simple tasks like going to the bathroom.

Similarly, life-threatening conditions can occur when immobile residents don’t receive the attention they should and end up developing bed sores and infections.

All of these concerns are legitimate. Ohio nursing homes are some of the worst-staffed nursing homes in the country, according to various reports. According to a report card published by the advocacy group Families for Better Care, Ohio has some of the worst staffing levels in the country in 2013 and 2014.  Ohio got an “F” for “Direct Care Staffing Above Average,” ranking 48th in the country.

You can visit our site here that lists some of the worst nursing homes in Ohio.

The article continues to describe the worsening problem:

As people live longer and the proportion of the population 65 and older doubles in the next 35 years, the challenge of filling positions in nursing homes will continue to grow.

The median wage for nursing assistants is just over $13 an hour — less than what workers can make in warehouses and call centers. Nursing homes are smart to make these jobs more attractive with benefits like college tuition aid and on-site child care.

Much like our article that you can read here, the idea of incentivizing nursing home employees is mentioned.

If you feel that your loved one’s care facility is understaffed and your loved one suffered an injury or death as a result of this, please contact me. I will help you sort through the facts to help you hold the nursing home accountable for not providing proper care for your loved one. You can comment below, or contact me here using this confidential form.

You can read the full article referenced above here.


Do you have questions about a possible abuse, neglect, stroke, or heart attack case? Contact us now using this confidential form. Or leave a comment below--but remember the comments are public, not confidential.

 Our No Fear Guarantee 

You’ve probably seen the lawyer ads: “No Fee Guarantee!” “No Fees if We Don’t Win!”   

Guess what? That’s true for just about any plaintiff’s lawyer.  It’s what a “contingency fee” means.  It doesn’t mean they’ll work hard.  Or get a good result for you.  It doesn’t mean much at all.

What we promise you is a NO FEAR guarantee.

What does that mean?  For 99% of our clients, a medical injury caused by negligence is new.  The medical malpractice lawsuit process is new.  Depositions, discovery, trial . . . everything is new.

New can be scary.  Especially when it involves having to testify under oath.

We’ve developed systems that let you address and move past the fear. Through education and information about the process. Role-playing and other preparation techniques. We empower you to be fearless.  Because this process is hard enough.

Contact us now.

—Subscribe Today—


Email Opt-In (Pop-Up)

Get the Definitive Guide . . . FREE

Get the definitive guide on Nursing Home and Assisted Living Claims — a $14.99 value — yours free, without commitment.

I don’t want the guide

Nursing Home and Assisted Living Wrongful Death Claims Book Cover three dimensional with shadow