It has recently been brought to the public’s attention that many nursing homes are not being staffed with qualified registered nurses (RNs) at all times. Rather, some homes have RNs on duty for only a portion of the day in a setting where a life threatening crisis can happen at any hour. An article in The New York Times brings to light political uproar about a 1987 federal law which required that registered nurses only be present eight hours a day.
The law was passed with the intention of reforming nursing home quality across the nation. Reducing the required hours for nurse staffing was part of the compromise that allowed for other reforms.
A new proposed bill titled “Put a Registered Nurse in the Nursing Home Act” seeks a requirement for RN presence 24 hours a day, seven days a week. This would be required in almost 16,000 nursing homes receiving federal funding from Medicare or Medicaid. Thirteen states already require 24-hour coverage but with exceptions such as relaxing the requirement in homes only fewer than 100 beds.
Studies on quality care have show that increased RN staffing leads to fewer bedsore incidents and urinary tract infections, as well as lower costs. This keeps patients out of hospitals for longer and avoids serious complications that can arise for patients who are confined to bed or a wheelchair.
Ensuring the presence of registered nurses around the clock is only a small step in ensuring quality care in nursing homes, many of which have a history of failing to meet the appropriate standards of patient treatment. If you or a loved one suffered an injury or received inadequate care, contact us today at (877) 737-8525 to discuss a nursing home lawsuit.