Nursing home aide and nursing staffing levels often pose a danger to patients

 

Newly-released Medicare data shows that most Texas nursing homes have staffing levels that are much below average, the worst possible rating

 
July 11, 2018

As a Houston, Texas medical malpractice lawyer, many clients and friends ask for any recommendations that I have for a good nursing home in Texas. My typical response is, “I will let you know when I find one.”

Unfortunately, Texas law has created an environment that does not hold healthcare providers financially responsible for providing poor care to elderly, disabled, and unemployed patients. Many Texans are shocked to discover that the so-called tort reform law caps the liability of a physician or facility whose clear negligence causes the death of a such a patient at $250,000.

As a result of this legal environment that is unfriendly to patient safety, some nursing homes and other facilities choose to operate with inadequate staffing to provide for patient needs. With too few aides and nurses to go around, no one is available to help residents to the bathroom, to clean them up if there is an accident, to turn them to avoid bedsores, and administer medications. Many patients and family members have told me that they have found it next to impossible to find a nurse, let alone a doctor, at their nursing homes.

Recently, a New York Times headline captured my attention: “’It’s Almost Like a Ghost Town. Most Nursing Homes Overstated Staffing for Years.”

 

The article discusses data that recently became available from Medicare concerning daily payroll records. Medicare only recently began gathering and publishing these figures. In the past, Medicare relied on facilities to self-report staffing levels and unverified reports. The payroll records paint a bleak picture that verifies the concerns that I have heard over and over again from nursing home residents.

Medicare guidelines do not set a minimum ratio for residents or patients to staff members, although there is a requirement of having one registered nurse on-site for eight hours per day and a licensed vocational nurse on-site at all times.

The article links to an interactive map containing nursing home staffing rates for over 14,000 facilities nationwide. Staffing is measured as the number of aides per patient and number of nurses per patient. Each facility has a color-coded dot on the map. Facilities with “much below” average staffing are red. As I expected, when I navigated the map to Texas, almost the whole state was red.

In that my office and home are in northwest Houston, I looked at all of the nursing home facilities in that basic part of Harris County, Texas. This geographical area includes northwest Houston, Cypress, The Woodlands, and Tomball. It was difficult to find any nursing home facility in the region that had average, let alone above average, staffing levels. I made a list of the facilities that were categorized as below-average or much below average.

Ashford Gardens
Much below average
Best days 12 aides & 24 nurses per resident
Worst days 20 aides & 43 nurses per resident

The Broadmore at Creekside Park
Much below average
Best days 10 aides & 22 nurses per resident
Worst days 18 aides & 37 nurses per resident

Grace Care Center at Northpointe
Much below average
Best days 15 aides & 29 nurses per resident
Worst days 22 aides & 40 nurses per resident

Grace Care Center at Veterans Memorial
Much below average
Best days 10 aides & 19 nurses per resident
Worst days 16 aides & 46 nurses per resident

The Heights of Tomball
Much below average
Best days 13 aides & 22 nurses per resident
Worst days 18 aides & 27 nurses per resident

Legend Oaks Healthcare and Rehabilitation North
Much below average
Best days 12 aides & 20 nurses per resident
Worst days 17 aides & 33 nurses per resident

Legend Oaks Healthcare and Rehabilitation Northwest Houston
Much below average
Best days 12 aides & 22 nurses per resident
Worst days 15 aides & 31 nurses per resident

Legend Oaks Healthcare and Rehabilitation West Houston
Much below average
Best days 11 aides & 19 nurses per resident
Worst days 15 aides & 26 nurses per resident

Northwest Health and Rehabilitation Center
Much below average
Best days 10 aides & 24 nurses per resident
Worst days 15 aides & 35 nurses per resident

Park Manor at Cypress Station
Much below average
Best days 11 aides & 17 nurses per resident
Worst days 16 aides & 30 nurses per resident

Park Manor of Cy Fair
Much below average
Best days 12 aides & 19 nurses per resident
Worst days 20 aides & 30 nurses per resident

Park Manor of Tomball
Much below average
Best days 11 aides & 16 nurses per resident
Worst days 17 aides & 29 nurses per resident

The Park Manor of Woodlands
Much below average
Best days 13 aides & 24 nurses per resident
Worst days 22 aides & 44 nurses per resident

Solera at West Houston
Much below average
Best days 16 aides & 19 nurses per resident
Worst days 30 aides & 30 nurses per resident

Spring Branch Transitional Care Center
Much below average
Best days 9 aides & 22 nurses per resident
Worst days 15 aides & 31 nurses per resident

Texas Institute for Clinically Complex Care
Much below average
Best days 18 aides & 37 nurses per resident
Worst days 33 aides & 68 nurses per resident

Tomball Rehabilitation and Nursing
Much below average
Best days 13 aides & 20 nurses per resident
Worst days 19 aides & 26 nurses per resident

Villa Toscana at Cypress Woods
Below average
Best days 9 aides & 21 nurses per resident
Worst days 11 aides & 33 nurses per resident

West Janisch Health Care Center
Below average
Best days 10 aides & 18 nurses per resident
Worst days 14 aides & 24 nurses per resident

Windsor Houston
Much below average
Best days 12 aides & 34 nurses per resident
Worst days 16 aides & 56 nurses per resident

Winterhaven Healthcare Residence
Below average
Best days 10 aides & 21 nurses per resident
Worst days 13 aides & 32 nurses per resident

The Woodlands Healthcare Center
Below average
Best days 10 aides & 25 nurses per resident
Worst days 11 aides & 32 nurses per resident

Woodridge Nursing and Rehabilitation
Much below average
Best days 11 aides & 25 nurses per resident
Worst days 13 aides & 31 nurses per resident

We are here to help

When it comes to hiring a medical malpractice attorney, experience matters. If you or someone you love has been seriously injured by nursing home, surgical, medical, or hospital malpractice, our experienced medical negligence attorneys can help. Click here to send us a confidential email via our “Contact Us” form or call us at 281-580-8800.

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Robert Painter is a medical malpractice attorney at Painter Law Firm PLLC, in Houston, Texas. He is a former hospital administrator who represents patients and family members in medical negligence and wrongful death lawsuits against hospitals, physicians, surgeons, anesthesiologists, and other healthcare providers. A member of the board of directors of the Houston Bar Association, he was honored, in 2017, by H Texas as one of Houston’s top lawyers. In May 2018, the Better Business Bureau recognized Painter Law Firm PLLC with its Award of Distinction.

Robert Painter

Robert Painter is a medical malpractice lawyer at Painter Law Firm PLLC.

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