When you spend time carefully selecting the right nursing home or assisted living facility for your loved one, you shouldn’t have to worry that they will be left unsupervised by medical staff. Unfortunately, a recent study in Heath Affairs found that 75% of all nursing homes in the nation fail to meet federal staffing guidelines for registered nurses (RNs). This shocking discovery could mean that thousands of seniors are facing a heightened risk of injury and abuse, due to lack of proper supervision.
Performed by researchers at Vanderbilt and Harvard, the study included an extensive review of 15,399 different nursing homes – just under the 15,600 nationwide total estimated by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). While the researchers found that many nursing homes had an RN onsite for at least 8 hours each weekday, nearly the opposite was true on weekends, with 91% of facilities falling short over 60% of the time.
Why Are RNs Required at Nursing Homes?
The Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) has issued federal-level guidelines to ensure that nursing homes are providing adequate care for their residents. In order to receive funding from Medicare or Medicaid – which many nursing homes need to keep their doors open – these organizations must maintain strict compliance with all the CMS requirements.
According to the CMS guidelines, certified nursing homes must have an RN on-site for at least 8 consecutive hours a day, for 7 days a week. In addition, they must also provide 24-hour licensed nursing services from Licensed Practical Nurses (LPNs) and Certified Nursing Assistants (CNAs). While LPNs and CNAs can perform varying hygiene and medical-related tasks, only RNs have the full medical training to change an IV, perform injections, and make crucial medical evaluations for residents.
If there aren’t enough RNs on staff, the following injuries can be the tragic result of that neglect:
- IV infections
- Bed sores or pressure sores
- Sepsis and septic shock
- Medication and treatment errors
- Delayed hospitalization
- Untreated physical injuries
- Medical neglect
Dedicated Representation for Nursing Home Claims
As co-author of the Heath Affairs study David Grabowski noted, the fact that 75% of American nursing homes lack appropriate RN staffing is “staggering.” Aside from increasing the risks of life-threatening injuries for vulnerable residents, this kind of flagrant negligence may also make nursing homes accountable for any losses suffered by residents and their families.
At Brown & Barron, LLC, we’re committed to helping people who have been hurt because of a negligent nursing home operator or staff member. If your loved one has experienced neglect, abuse, or both, our team can apply decades of combined experience to your case. With over 100 trials as lead trial counsel and multiple million-dollar verdicts, we’ve shown that we can get the results our clients deserve in nursing home abuse claims.
For more information, contact our Baltimore legal team at (410) 698-1717 today.