Lawsuit Alleges Chronic Understaffing at Georgia Nursing Home

Senior FallingAthens, GA- A Georgia man alleges the Hickory Creek Nursing Center in The Plains is chronically understaffed and short on supplies, leading to diminished care for himself and other residents at the facility.

The lawsuit, filed on behalf of John Primmer, 66, alleges he “suffered catastrophic injuries, extreme pain, suffering, and mental anguish. The scope and severity of the recurrent wrongs inflicted upon John Primmer while under the care of the facility accelerated the deterioration of his health and physical condition beyond that caused by the normal aging process and resulted in physical and emotional trauma.”

Primmer entered the facility in September of 2012 and left the home in January of 2013.

The suit, reported by the Athens News, alleges as a result of his substandard care, Primmer lost weight, suffered from bed sores and falls, and his hygiene was neglected.

The suit which named as defendants Healthcare Industries Corporation and related companies, Hickory Creek Nursing Center, Hickory Creek of Athens, Inc., nursing home administrator Dave Miller, and multiple “John Doe” defendants, alleges they were aware of the “systemic staffing problems” which caused harm to patients and affected their quality of care. The suit also says the defendants were aware of the problems and did nothing to correct them.

The Athens News reported that the Hickory Creek Nursing Center has not been cited or fined by federal regulatory agencies. However the Medicare website gives the home rating of “much below average.”

Primmer’s lawsuit alleges the problems at the home stem from the staffing issues and the home hired too few registered nurses, LPNs and certified nursing assistants. It also alleges that staff members missed work or quit the home because they did not have enough coworkers to help them carryout their duties or left because conditions at the home were “deplorable.”

According to the Medicare website, residents at Hickory Creek received 34 minutes or less of direct care from professional nurses, below the national average of 45 minutes a day. Residents received 1 hour and 40 minutes direct care from certified nursing assistants, below compared to 2 hours and 18 minutes at other statewide facilities.

The lawsuit claims the Hickory Creek Nursing Home’s actions were “gross negligence” and as a result Primmer was suffered physical and emotional harm.

There is a direct correlation between understaffing and the prevalence of neglect in the country’s nursing homes. Lack of staffing is prevalent problem at many long-term care facilities across the country. While facilities in states, such as Colorado and Florida, give patients more daily direct care, many facilities in the Southeast rank poorly under this metric.

Residents of nursing homes depend in staff of these facilities to care for them, but when a facility fails to provide adequate care the needs of these patients are neglected and can suffer greatly as a result. When a patient suffers injuries or death because of staffing issues, a nursing home attorney can seek compensation on their behalf.