Clifford Chester Sims veterans’ nursing home is the only veterans’ nursing home in northwest Florida, and provides 100 seniors with 24-hour nursing care, but a handful of nurses and nurse assistants working at Sims called to tell us they're being overworked and their fatigue is affecting how patients are cared for.
During a phone interview several nurses said the facility is short about a half a dozen nurses and about 10 nurse assistants. They said they're being asked to work consecutive 16-hour days, and they've had patients fall because there's not enough staff to watch over them.
Investigators from the state's Agency for Healthcare Administration were at the facility Thursday, but would not comment as to why they were there.
Nursing home administrator Wallace Warren admits the facility is shorthanded, but says it meets the state's minimum staffing requirement for patient care.
The state bases their guidelines on hours worked, not number of nurses. For Sims there must be 100 hours of nursing care in one day according to state law, so that may point out why staff members are working such long shifts.
"I post information about where we are with staffing and who's coming on board. It's just getting through some tight times, but I'm still confident about patient care and the employees we do have," says Wallace.
Warren says the facility won't admit any more patients until he can hire more nurses and nurse assistants, which could be fairly soon. He says there are nurse assistants in training right now.