The Need for Registered Nurses in Nursing Homes

According the Medline Plus, “A nursing home is a place for people who don’t need to be in a hospital but can’t be cared for at home. Most nursing homes have nursing aides and skilled nurses on hand 24 hours a day.” Skilled Nursing Facilities were instituted to administer adequate full time care to ailing seniors. Although expected by most families, adequate care is not always guaranteed. An essential component of a nursing home is the nurses who tend to the elderly residents. Although medical professions are a necessity, majority of the time registered nurses are not at the facilities 24/7. The Los Angeles Times states, “The 1987 law intended to reform the country’s nursing homes required a registered nurse on site only eight hours a day, regardless of the size of the facilities.” The implementation of this law was monumental at the time, but as America sees an influx in the geriatric community, the law needs to be revisited.

Advocates and government officials alike are appalled to learn that well trained RN’s are only required to be present in skilled nursing facilities for eight hours a day. In an interview with the Los Angeles Times, Representative Jan Schakowsky of Illinois stated, “Completely shocked… This applied to nursing homes whatever the number of beds, One hundred. Four hundred.” Her disappointment regarding this law prompted her to introduce the Put A Registered Nurse in the Nursing Home Act. This law will require “that a direct-care registered nurse (not an administrator) be present 24 hours a day, seven days a week, in all the nearly 16,000 nursing homes that receive Medicare or Medicaid reimbursement.”

The continued presence of a RN in a skilled nursing facility is beneficial to the residents and the facility itself. Without these professionals in the vicinity, many residents are at a higher risk for mistreatment or no treatment at all. The Los Angeles Times explains, “with higher registered-nurse staffing, patients have fewer pressure ulcers (aka bedsores) and urinary tract infections and catheterizations. They stay out of hospitals longer…Their care improves, but it costs less.”

Certified nursing assistants (CNA) are important when caring for nursing home residents.  However, RN’s are the only nursing professionals trained and licensed to “evaluate a patient’s care and conduct assessments when his or her conditions changes, which can happen rapidly.”
Having an appropriate amount of professionally trained nursing staff will decrease the staggering amount of nursing home elder abuse cases in the United States.  Although elder abuse should not be a concern for residents and their loved ones, without better staffing in nursing homes it will continue to be a problem. At the Law Offices of Ben Yeroushalmi, and elite elder abuse and neglect firm, we rigorously battle to protect abuse victims from incidents of abuse and neglect. Mr. Yeroushalmi and his staff are passionate about their work, and believe that elder abuse victims and their loved ones have the right to receive the compensation they deserve. If you believe you or a loved one is being abused please do not hesitate to contact us today for a free consultation. We service communities throughout the state of California.