New Legislation Calls for More Registered Nurses in Nursing Homes

Illinois Representative Jan Schakowsky-D introduced House Bill 5373, or the Put A Registered Nurse in the Nursing Home Act, on July 31st after learning that more than 1,500 (about 11%) nationwide nursing homes do not employ at least one 24-hour registered nurse. Ms. Schakowsky’€™s legislation would require all nationwide nursing homes that receive Medicaid or Medicare to employ a direct-care registered nurse 24-hours per day, seven days per week.

The astonishingly low number of registered nurses employed by nursing homes offers some insight into the poor care some seniors receive at elder care facilities. Though many nursing homes employ licensed practical nurses and certified nursing assistants to care for their patients, registered nurses account for the highest classification of certified caregivers. Registered nurses are additionally the only classification licensed to evaluate and assess a patient’€™s condition.

According to nursing home studies, many patients experience fewer instances of abuse and neglect when a 24-hour registered nurse is available, including decreased urinary tract infections, fewer hospitalizations, and fewer bedsores.

So why are registered nurses so scarce in an environment that requires the highest quality of care? Several reports indicate it is partially because of the difference in pay between working in a nursing home versus working in a hospital, where registered nurses make close to $70,000 or more annually. A second reason is due to location: some nursing homes are in rural areas which makes it difficult to staff a registered nurse throughout a 24-hour period.

Our team of legal experts will be watching the development of this new legislation to help our clients understand more about elder care in nursing homes.

Nursing Home Abuse Lawyers at Moraitakis & Kushel, LLP

If you or someone you love has been abused or neglected while in the care of a nursing home, contact our legal team at Moraitakis & Kushel, LLP in Atlanta, Georgia.

Our team of legal experts combines more than 70 years of experience to help you and your loved ones find justice. Schedule your free consultation in our Atlanta area office by calling (404) 261-0016 or toll free at 1(800) 688-2357 to learn how we fight for the rights of those who can’€™t defend themselves.