Federal Government Proposes New Nursing Home Staffing Standards
In response to increasing concerns about the standard of care at nursing homes and reports of negligent care due to understaffing, federal regulators recently announced a new rule that, if approved, would set minimum staffing requirements for nursing home facilities across the U.S. Until the rule goes into effect, nursing homes can continue to accept too many residents and patients for their staff to handle, resulting in injuries and abuse, both of which are occurring at an alarming rate across the country.
New Staffing Rules
If the proposed rules are implemented, all nursing home facilities would now be required to have a registered nurse on staff 24 hours a day, seven days a week. It would also require at least three nursing hours for every resident, which includes:
- .55 hours of care from a registered nurse every day; and
- 45 hours of care by a nurse aid per day.
These would be the minimum requirements, so nursing home facilities could actually be required to provide additional care in cases where a patient needs more assistance. Federal regulators believe that if the rule is implemented, more than 75 percent of nursing homes would need to re-examine their staffing standards. Unfortunately, the new standard still falls short of the recommendation by the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services, which found that residents should receive 4.1 hours of care every day.
The Consequences of Understaffing
The new rules could directly impact the level of care that nursing home residents receive, many of whom don’t receive the care they should due to a shortage of nurses and nurse aids. This kind of understaffing is extremely dangerous, as it means that residents are often unable to change their clothes, use the restrooms, or bathe. This can lead to falls, as residents attempt to fulfill these tasks on their own. Unfortunately, falls are much more serious for elderly nursing home residents than for the rest of us. In fact, studies reveal that one in every three nursing home residents will pass away within six months of suffering a hip fracture.
A lack of staff can also lead to dangerous mistakes when it comes to administering medications, with some residents given the wrong dosage at the wrong times, or even given medication that they weren’t prescribed. These kinds of prescription errors are extremely common and very dangerous for residents, who could end up suffering permanently from the effects.
Reach Out to an Experienced Florida Medical Malpractice Lawyer Today
Thousands of nursing home residents are mistreated every day in the U.S. Often, these problems are the result of understaffing. If you are concerned about the health and safety of your own loved one, or the care that he or she is being provided at a nursing home, feel free to reach out to the experienced Florida medical malpractice attorneys at Boone & Davis to learn more about how to protect their rights. You can set up a free consultation with our legal team by calling our office at 954-566-9919 today.