If the conversation lags at a neighborhood barbecue, try asking the people seated near you about the summer jobs they had as teenagers. You are sure to hear stories of workplaces where workers cut corners in order to get home reasonably soon after closing and managers ignored or even encouraged this behavior. The tales of poorly maintained restaurant kitchens and germy public swimming pools are sure to make your skin crawl. In jobs like these, the only effect of employees and management cutting corners at work is that customers would feel squeamish if they found out about the poor standards of cleanliness at the workplace; they might even be disgusted enough to stop patronizing the business, but it is unlikely that anyone would be physically harmed. When administrators encourage or require staff to cut corners at nursing homes, though, they put vulnerable people’s lives and health at risk. This type of nursing home abuse is the subject of a class action lawsuit filed this year against 15 nursing homes in California.
Defendants Accused of Keeping Nursing Homes Understaffed to Save Money
Bechtold v. Rechnitz is the latest of a series of class action lawsuits alleging abuse and neglect of residents in nursing homes in California. The plaintiff representing the class in the class action lawsuit is Diane Bechtold, a resident of Roseville Point Health and Wellness Center, a 98-bed nursing facility located near Sacramento. Bechtold and the other plaintiffs allege that the nursing home is chronically understaffed, leading to substandard patient care that unnecessarily leaves patients vulnerable to infections, falls, and other hazards. They claim that the owner of the nursing home, Shlomo Rechnitz, and the company that operates it, Rockport Administrative Services, were aware of this understaffing and intentionally avoided staffing the nursing homes adequately. Hiring more employees would have cost more money, and the defendants allegedly prioritized the desire to keep costs low over the duty to keep patients as safe and well cared for as possible.
What Does it Mean for a Nursing Home to be Adequately Staffed?
Understaffing is a widespread problem in nursing homes in California. To meet the minimum legal requirements for staffing, the nursing home must provide each patient with three and a half hours of care by qualified nurses per 24-hour period. At the time the lawsuit was filed, the requirement was only 3.2 hours per day, but Bechtold and the other plaintiffs allege that this standard was not being met. The new requirement of 3.5 care hours per day went into effect on July 1, 2018. 3.5 hours per patient per day may sound like a lot, but keep in mind that the nurses must not only administer medications and change wound dressings but also help patients with daily activities such as eating, dressing, toileting, and bathing.
Contact Case Barnett About Nursing Home Abuse Cases in Orange County, California
If a nursing home seems understaffed to you, it is not just your imagination. Contact Case Barnett in Costa Mesa, California to discuss your case and to see if you have grounds for a nursing home neglect lawsuit.