On July 31, Illinois Representative Jan Schakowsky introduced the Put A Registered Nurse in the Nursing Home Act after discovering that federal law only requires a registered nurse on-site only 8 hours a day, regardless of the size of the facility.
The act, also known as House Vote 5373, would require that a direct-care registered nurse be present 24 hours a day, seven days a week in all the nearly 16,000 nursing homes that receive Medicare or Medicaid reimbursement.
Why is this so imporant?
Studies have frequently pointed out the importance of registered nursing. Nursing homes with around the clock nurses have patients with fewer bed sores, urinary tract infections, patients stay out of hospitals longer and their homes get fewer serious deficiencies from state inspectors.
Currently, only 13 states require 24-hour registered nurse coverage, but their statutes vary. California makes that requirement only for nursing homes with more than 100 beds, and New Jersey only for those with more than 150 beds.
The American Association of Nurse Assessment Coordination researched and found that 1,777 nursing homes did not have nurses around the clock.
- $930,000 for the family of a victim of nursing home neglect at the Franco Nursing Home.
- $725,000 for a paraplegic man who developed severe bedsores at a nursing home.
As our population ages, nursing home neglect and abuse is becoming a serious problem in Florida. As a society, we should not tolerate mistreatment of the elderly in facilities that are designed to care for them.
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Source: The New York Times, "Where Are the Nurses," August 13, 2014.