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Los Angeles Nursing Homes Found to Have Chronically Understaffed Levels of Registered Nurses

A recent article titled “Caring for elders: the role of registered nurses in nursing homes” emphasized the great importance of staffing a sufficient amount of registered nurses (RNs) in nursing homes. The article refers to RNs as the “linchpin” of nursing homes as they are expected to organize innovative activities, exercise clinical judgment, and deal with ethical dilemmas while linking together different departments. The study discussed in the article conducted various interviews with RNs from different nursing homes. The conclusion was that the responsibilities of RNs are absolutely crucial to nursing homes, but many factors such as understaffing and a lack of communication often stand in their way of doing their job properly which in turn leads to a lower quality of care.

While RNs may also do office work and other administrative tasks, these tasks can be delegated to other staff as the skill set of an RN can be better utilized elsewhere. The article stresses that RNs should really be focusing on direct patient care, such as maintaining a good relationship with their residents and exercising clinical judgment. If RNs maintain a good relationship with their residents, they will in a better position to direct other administrative tasks to other staff to ensure that the nursing home is providing the best quality of care.

An RN is becomes tied down with office work usually when the facility is understaffed and do not have enough staff to delegate the proper responsibilities. An RN complained about this understaffing and incorrect delegation of duties saying, “Handling invitations to tender, equipment and resident inventory, billing, and drafting quality control documents could be delegated to others. We actually spend little time building a relationship and communicating (with the resident).” When RNs do not have time to maintain a good relationship with their residents due to understaffing, it becomes nearly impossible to carry out individual care plans for their residents, which is extremely important for ensuring safety of residents and preventing falls.

Previous studies have shown the staffing levels of RNs and the amount of RN direct care time are correlated with avoidable nursing home injuries such as pressure sores, urinary tract infections, and falls. Because of this, it becomes increasingly important that nursing homes both hire enough RNs and allow RNs to carry out their proper responsibilities. Undervaluing the role of an RN could seriously compromise the quality of care. Unfortunately, as this article has shown, many nursing homes do ignore the importance of a proper caregiver-patient relationship, and disregard the importance of staffing nursing homes properly.

When choosing a nursing home, it is important to ensure that the well-being of their residents and the human element of care is one of the most important priorities for the facility. While this may seem obvious, many nursing homes do not have their resident’s health as a first priority. This is both inexcusable and a violation of a patient’s rights.

If you feel that your loved one has been harmed due to this neglect, please contact us today to see how we can help.