Nursing Home Fails to Provide Nursing Services in Timely Manner

Rehabilitation and Healthcare Center of Tampa was cited after failing to “provide nursing and related services to enable residents to attain and maintain their highest practicable physical, mental and psychosocial well-being.”

During an observation and interview with a resident, long wait times for call lights were reported. The resident’s son was also present. He told the observer “the staff have an attitude” and suggested some of them “shouldn’t be doing this kind of work.” There also weren’t enough staff members for the number of residents.

Another resident expressed that the nursing care is bad and short-staffed. He reported sometimes waiting for up to 45 minutes for a staff member to answer his call light. He was not the only resident to report a wait of 45 minutes or longer. One resident told the observer he had waited for over two hours for a staff member to help him, but no one came. This resident required help getting out of bed and to and from the bathroom. Because no staff was available to help him when he called, he was left in a wet brief for more than an hour.

During an observation of dining, a Restorative Aide was observed supervising eight residents who all needed assistance dining. Restorative Aides are CNAs (certified nursing assistants) with specialized training in rehabilitation and restorative care. The Restorative Aide was helping two of the residents at the same time. The Aide stated that due to the intensity of the residents’ needs it was very difficult to assist these residents at the same time. According to the Restorative Aide, there should be three aides handling this many residents at a time. When understaffed, nursing staff are stretched and stressed to the point of not being deliver day-to-day care or keep up with documenting residents’ changes in conditions.

During a resident council meeting, many concerns were reported by members, including:

  • Call lights not being answered in a timely manor;
  • Staff having bad attitudes and making residents feel like a burden;
  • Being severely understaffed;
  • Being short on Certified Nursing Assistants (CNAs) due to call-offs;
  • Staff being visibly overwhelmed and complaining about how much they’re paid;
  • Units not being covered well by CNAs during staff breaks.

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During an interview with the Administrator regarding the staffing issue and call light response times, the Administrator said that although a policy for call light response had been requested, there was no formal policy in place. However, she did have a process improvement plan (PIP) for call lights and complaints from residents. The Administrator said the staff is to make regular call light audits and concierge rounds. It’s important that residents are seen and heard and treated with dignity so it’s important to address residents’ complaints.

In response to CNA coverage during staff breaks, the Administrator claimed she had just found out that this was happening. It was resulting from too many people going on break back-to-back. To combat this, she had changed the break schedule and discussed the problem with the staff members.

In response to being short CNA staff due to multiple call-offs, the Administrator said she had staffed one extra CNA per shift for this reason. The Administrator also reported that there should be 2 Restorative Aides per dining room, and each Aide should have no more than two dependent diners to care for at a time.

A CNA told the observer, “I’m not going to lie to you, [there’s] not always enough staff, but we try to do the best to make it work.” It is important that nursing home facilities have an adequate number of staff to care for its many residents. If facilities are under-staffed, the quality of care residents receive decreases, creating more chances for harm.

If you suspect nursing home abuse, we will provide a free, confidential case evaluation with no obligation to hire us. We treat our clients with compassion and aggressively represent their rights, making nursing homes take responsibility for abuse. Distasio Law Firm has the expertise and ability to advocate for victims of nursing home abuse and neglect, even if a case goes to trial.

COVID-19 Update

During this difficult time of quarantine, self-isolation, and social distancing throughout Florida and the nation, we want you to know that there are ways to check on any loved ones in a nursing home facility. While you likely won’t be able to visit in person, below are a few tips for checking on your loved one to make sure they are getting the care they need.

  • Call every day. Set a time to catch up with your loved one, even if it’s just a five minute call. If your loved one is tech-savvy and uses FaceTime, check in that way! Just one call can help ensure your loved one is still getting the care you expect from the nursing home.
  • Call after each shift. Find out when each shift starts and ends, and talk to the nurses after each shift to check on the consistency and quality of your loved one’s care.
  • Find out what you can or can’t do. During this time, most nursing homes won’t permit you to enter the nursing home facility in order to protect you and your loved ones. Some, however, let families enter when the loved one is on hospice. Be sure to clarify the rules with the facility so you can plan for any situation.