We often hear complaints of insufficient staffing at nursing homes. While we all understand that doctors make regular rounds at nursing homes on specific days, many of us are under the impression that, when the doctor is not there, at least one registered nurse (RN) is. Unfortunately, that is not the case.
Currently, federal law requires that nursing homes have an RN on premises only eight hours per day, no matter how many residents are in the facility and no matter the level of care that the residents require. The medical needs of residents who are living in nursing homes around the clock are not restricted to business hours on weekdays. RNs are the only nurses in a nursing home who can assess a resident’s condition. What happens to a resident with a medical issue during the daily 16-hour absence of an RN?
On July 31, 2014, Congresswoman Jan Schakowsky of Illinois introduced the Put a Registered Nurse in the Nursing Home Act (H.R. 5373) in the U. S. House of Representatives which would require all nursing homes that receive Medicare and/or Medicaid reimbursement to have an RN on duty all day, every day. Higher levels of RN staffing would go a long way in improving the quality of the care that is provided to the vulnerable population of nursing home residents.
Rosen & Spears share enthusiasm for increased regulations that will improve monitoring and care for our elderly citizens.