If your loved one resides in a nursing home or assisted living facility, you want to feel confident he or she is receiving proper care. You want to know there are enough nurses and caretakers at the facility at all times.
Unfortunately, most nursing homes are understaffed, according to federal data. It’s a growing problem, as the population of the United States continues to get older and require more care.
A proposed legislative bill, however, would revise minimum staffing requirements for skilled nursing homes that participate in Medicare and Medicaid programs.
Nursing staff bill faces pushback
The Quality Care for Nursing Home Residents Act is under consideration in the Senate and the House of Representatives.
Health care providers argue they should not be required to beef up nursing levels without funding. The head of the American Health Care Association says some nursing facilities would close if the minimum-staffing bill were passed without any funding to pay salaries of extra caretakers, according to McKnight’s, Long-Term Care News.
As experienced nursing home neglect and abuse attorneys in Chicago, we know administrators of care facilities often say they don’t have enough money to pay for adequate staff. When they make this argument, they are putting profits above the safety of some of society’s most vulnerable people. They are putting residents of their facilities at risk of neglect and abuse.
Impact of understaffing at nursing homes
Some of the complications that arise from inadequate staffing:
- Lack of food service may lead to malnutrition.
- Health conditions may worsen with lack of medication.
- Immobile residents may suffer from bedsores because they are not turned on a regular basis.
- Residents have a greater risk of falling when they are walking around the facility because there is not enough staff to assist.
- Exhausted caregivers may make critical mistakes or use excessive force, even violence, when moving residents.
How the nursing home staffing bill would help consumers
The National Consumer Voice for Quality Long-Term Care hailed the proposed bill as an important step to ensure the safety of patients in facilities.
The bill would:
- Establish minimum nurse staffing levels for nursing homes under Medicare and Medicaid.
- Expand training requirements and supervision for all nursing staff.
- Create whistleblower and other protections for nursing home personnel and residents.
- Prohibit the use of forced arbitration agreements between residents and any nursing home entity.
- Develop a standardized protocol for nursing facilities to obtain informed consent for residents for treatment with psychotropic drugs.
How a nursing home attorney can help
If you suspect nursing home abuse and neglect because of a staffing shortage or any other reason, contact Keating Law Offices, P.C., for a free consultation. Our Chicago attorneys have the experience and resources needed to hold negligent nursing homes and assisted living facilities accountable.