Many people throughout the U.S. rely on nursing homes to provide their elderly family members and disabled loved ones with the care they require. Unfortunately, the current regulations for nursing home facilities in Maryland don’t encourage the best care possible for residents. Between staffing requirements and low nurse pay, many nursing homes simply aren’t held to the high standards we should expect from the facilities trusted with the care of our loved ones.
As regulations currently stand, nursing homes are only required to staff one nurse for every 25 residents. Not only is this simply not enough care per individual resident, it grossly overworks the nursing staff. In a profession where workers are on their feet for most of their shift, as with most healthcare jobs, nursing home nurses should be given fewer patients to focus their energy on in order to enable them to provide quality care.
When nurses are overworked, the residents suffer. Even when homes are staffed with truly well-intentioned caretakers, it is simply too easy for a single nurse to make a mistake. A nurse who is spread too thin could easily overlook a patient’s bedsores, or miss a serious fall when he or she is asked to care for 25 individuals over the course of an average 8-hour shift.
In addition to the issue of demanding hours, nursing assistants in Maryland earn an average wage of $13.22 per hour. This income is barely enough to sustain most nursing home workers, leading up to 35% of nursing assistants to rely on food stamps, Medicaid, or other public assistance programs just to get by. Add this low-income issue with the high rate of injury in the healthcare profession and the demanding long hours and it’s no wonder nursing homes are having a difficult time retaining good, qualified workers.
In an effort to solve these serious issues, the United Healthcare Workers East, a health care union, has proposed a new set of state regulations for Maryland nursing homes. The current regulations must be revised and strengthened, in the opinion of the union, in order to better support nursing home staff and enable nurses to provide better care for residents. These new proposed regulations aim to increase the hours of bedside care per resident by requiring more nurses on staff in proportion to the number of nursing home residents.
The updates began in a stakeholder process by the Maryland Department of Health, but Governor Larry Hogan has yet to push the revisions forward.
To learn more about the nursing home regulations in Maryland, click here.
Unfortunately, the existing regulations continue to allow negligent nursing home facilities to operate, leading to numerous cases of nursing home abuse throughout the state each year. If you suspect your loved one is being abused or neglected by his or her nursing home staff or nurses, make sure you take action. Our firm can help you take legal action and pursue justice on behalf of your elderly parent or disabled loved one in order to prevent the same abuse from happening to someone else. If you have a case, we want to hear from you.
Contact Brown & Barron, LLC to schedule a free consultation with our Maryland attorneys.