Many people in the U.S. live well into their 70s, 80s or even 90s. However, as a person ages their health may deteriorate. When this happens, they may need to reside in a nursing home where they can receive the around-the-clock care they need. Unfortunately, not all nursing homes provide adequate care, which could lead to resident harm.

In April 2018, the Connecticut Department of Health issued an order to a nursing home in the state, requiring that the facility employ an independent nurse consultant and dictating the minimum number of staff per residents the facility must maintain. This order came after the facility was inspected, revealing several violations of resident care and safety standards.

This is not a common move by the DPH. However, it addresses the burgeoning issue of substandard care being provided at many nursing homes due to low staffing numbers and untrained caregivers. Between 2015 and 2018, 247 nursing homes received citations from the DPH due to issues regarding substandard care. Falls were the most common incident that lead to a citation, at 65 incidents. Thirty-seven citations were issued due to bed sores resulting from neglect or a failure to follow the orders of the resident’s physician. Thirty-one citations were issued due to caregivers harming residents in general. Finally, 29 citations were issued due to medication errors.

According to the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services, eight nursing homes in the state had below average staff levels and 46 nursing homes had staff levels much below the state average. So, while many nursing homes in the state are adequately staffed, incidents in which a facility lacks an adequate number of staff members do exist. This can lead to nursing home neglect and ultimately harm to residents.

People in Connecticut who place a loved one in a nursing home might visit the facility first to ensure their loved one will receive the care they need. Unfortunately, even if a family carefully researches the facility, incidents of resident harm can still occur if the facility is negligent in the hiring and training of its caregivers. When a nursing home resident is harmed by the facility’s caregivers, it is important that they and their loved ones understand their legal options, including the possibility of filing a legal claim, if appropriate.