According to an article on News Channel 12’s website, the Sapphire Nursing Home located at 46 Harriman Drive, Goshen, NY 10924 is under fire for not providing enough staff to properly care for the people who reside there. The New York Department of Health is investigating several major violations involving understaffing and resident neglect.
Several complaints have been filed against the nursing home, including a complaint made by a man named Russell Kennedy, whose mother was a resident at the Sapphire Nursing Home. An article on News12 Westchester’s website reports that:
Russell Kennedy says his 90-year-old mother is confined to a wheelchair and can barely hear, relying on staff at the Goshen nursing home to perform simple tasks like getting out of bed and putting in her hearing aid. He says they ring the bell for help and people don’t come because they just don’t have the staff to handle it.
By not providing enough staff for residents, the Sapphire Nursing Home is putting its residents at risks of serious injury or even death.
What is Understaffing?
Nursing home understaffing is when there are not enough nursing home staff to meet the specific needs of all the residents.
Nursing homes provide care to residents through people (staff): nurses (registered nurses and licensed practical nurses), nursing aides (also called State Tested Nursing Assistants or STNAs in Ohio), therapists (physical, occupational, speech) and their assistants, janitorial / environmental staff, dietary / nutrition, and sometimes doctors.
In my experience, critical understaffing is in the nursing staff–nurses (RNs and / or LPNs) and aides (STNAs)–because they are the ones providing direct medical care, observation, and evaluation. Without enough nursing staff, people die.
According to the News12 article, a nurses aid actually told the woman and her family that they cannot take care of her.
The facility reportedly lost half its staff due to cuts and layoffs after it was bought out last year. Since then, the state has cited the new owners for seven violations after families like Kennedy came forward with allegations of patient neglect, improper care and understaffing.
“The aides actually say to her – we don’t have enough staff to take you out,” says Kennedy.
This is what happens when profit is the primary motivation for nursing homes as opposed to the proper care of their residents. Unfortunately, this is extremely common.
The number one income source for every nursing home I have ever sued has been the number of residents (and, often, they get paid more for resident who have the highest care needs, reflected by the Resource Utilization Group score). Want revenues to go up? Fill those nursing home beds with residents, the sicker and needier, the better.
The number one expense for every nursing home I’ve ever sued has been nursing staff. Want expenses to go down? Hire fewer nursing staff members, pay them less, and have them work fewer hours.
Holding Nursing Homes Accountable
Unfortunately, it is extremely difficult to actually change the way that a nursing home staffs. In this case, the nursing home released a statement and has to submit a plan to fix the deficiencies. But what about the residents and their families who have suffered greatly? According to the article,
A spokesperson issued a statement saying, “Sapphire Nursing and Rehab at Goshen takes any deficiencies by the Department of Health very seriously and it is essential for us to take corrective actions.”
A Sapphire spokesperson says they held a job fair earlier this month and are actively looking to fill more than two dozen jobs. In the meantime, they are using per-diem staff to help fill in the gaps.
This is cannot be the only solution to the problem. The residents and their families who trust nursing homes to provide the proper and necessary care deserve better.
Often times federal and state agencies, who are also often underpaid and understaffed, are in charge of holding violators accountable. This does not always work. When nursing homes are owned by a large parent corporation, even large fines are just a drop in the bucket.
If you are concerned about your loved one’s well being or fear that understaffing was the root cause of your loved one’s serious injury or death, please contact me. You may comment bellow or contact me through this confidential form here. These can be extremely complicated issues and I am here to help you navigate through the difficult processes of holding nursing homes accountable.
You can read the full article here.