Nursing homes are quickly becoming a big business. As the number of baby boomers retiring and entering assisted living facilities continues to grow so does the number of nursing homes. Unfortunately the boom in business does not always benefit nursing home residents. In some cases too many residents and inadequate staffing lie at the root of many problems.
A state's attorney general is suing the 10th largest nursing home provider chain in the nation for what he says is a lack of care. The suit may spark more of its kind due to the unique way in which it came to the conclusion that neglect was occurring in the homes. The suit utilizes basic math in addition to witnesses and nursing home staff willing to report on their employer. By determining the amount of time it takes to complete tasks such as changing a diaper or feeding a resident and matching that against the actual hours worked by staff the attorney general was able to determine lapses in care.
By using data from the nursing home as a whole it may be possible to prove negligence in care even if one can't point to a specific incident. This is made possible by the burden of proof used in civil courts. If the attorney general's case is successful one may be able to prove their case simply by showing an avoidable injury occurred during a time when staffing levels were negligently low.
As the baby boomers age many will look to nursing homes for a reasonable standard of care. As the need for nursing homes increases so do the chances of injury due to inadequate staffing and negligence.
Source: ABC News, "New Mexico Sues Nursing Home Chain on Care, Staff," Jeff Horwitz and Susan Montoya, Dec. 5, 2014