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Chronic Understaffing at Novato Healthcare Yields Two Weak Deficiencies


A complaint investigation found widespread concern from residents and staff about chronic understaffing at Novato Healthcare Center.  At least nine residents told similar stories of waiting hours to have call lights answered, weeks between showers, and no assistance with eating or grooming.  One resident was trapped in her bed for an hour and a half before the staff responded to her call light.  Another resident was forced to soil herself waiting for help while yet another had to lay in his waste for several hours.  For this inexcusable neglect, the facility was given two weak deficiencies, one of which was for failing to post staffing hours.  The second deficiency was for understaffing but was found to be "no harm" and "not pervasive or widespread."  What incentive do nursing homes have to staff appropriately to meet resident needs when all they face for chronic understaffing are deficiencies with no monetary fines?