Standards of Care in Arizona Nursing Homes

Standards of Care in Arizona Nursing HomesNursing homes in Arizona are considered to be long-term facilities that provide nursing services to residents. Nursing homes are responsible for taking care of seniors and elderly individuals who need nursing, medical, or rehabilitative care 24 hours a day. These facilities are typically staffed with doctors, nurses, certified nurse assistants, and other professionals who play a huge role in caring for residents during the day and night hours.

Some of the typical duties that nursing home staff are required to help residents with include bathing, feeding, dressing, administering medications, developing medical treatment plans, monitoring medical conditions, and more.

Who is responsible for regulating Arizona nursing homes?

The Arizona Department of Health Services, Office of Long Term Care is responsible for regulating and licensing nursing homes in the state of Arizona. This means that the employees of this state agency are required to conduct nursing home inspections annually and investigate complaints made about specific nursing homes regularly. When a complaint is investigated, the inspectors will publish the complaint and findings on their website for staff members, residents, and the community to learn about. In addition, the inspector will follow up with the nursing home soon after to ensure that all complaints are fixed.

Standards of care in nursing homes in Arizona

Arizona has established certain standards of care in nursing homes. The goal of these standards of care is to ensure that all nursing home facilities are complying with the rules and regulations implemented to give residents a good quality of life, as well as a healthy and safe environment. We will explain  in more detail some of the most critical standards of care that nursing homes in Arizona must abide by below.

Required certifications and licensing

In Arizona, almost all nursing homes are required to receive and maintain their state license. The only nursing homes that are exempt from this rule are the tribal nursing homes. As mentioned, each nursing home receives their license through the Office of Long-Term Care Licensing, and the law in Arizona requires all nursing home facilities to place their license somewhere that is visible to the public.

If a nursing home chooses to offer services and care to residents who are on Medicaid or Medicare, they must also comply with the federal regulations and receive their federal licenses. The Office of Long-Term Care Licensing conducts routine inspections to make sure that nursing homes are meeting and following all state and federal laws to maintain their licensing.

Guidelines for providing medications to residents

Providing medications to residents is an essential task in nursing homes. Therefore, Ariz. Admin. Code § 9-10-2221 breaks down the facts of how medications should be administered to residents. Here are some of the necessary medication guidelines that must be followed in order to meet the standards of care in nursing homes:

  • Administrators must provide information to a resident or their representative regarding the medications prescribed. This includes reactions, side effects, and results.
  • Administrators must follow procedures to ensure that the resident’s medications are reviewed at least every three months by a pharmacist. Once the medications have been reviewed, the administrator must inform the resident’s physician and director of nursing about any medication changes.
  • Administrators must document all medication services and help residents obtain the medications they need.
  • Administrators must make sure that all medications are approved by a licensed pharmacist and that only prescribed medications are given to residents.
  • If the resident refuses to take any prescribed medications, the administrator must document this.
  • A nurse is responsible for verbal orders of medication services.
  • If the nursing home is assisting a resident with self-administration of medication, they must make sure that the medication is properly stored, provide a reminder to take the medication at the correct time, open the medication for the resident, and watch the resident successfully take the medication. After the resident takes the medication, the dosage and time should be documented.
  • Before any employee other than a doctor, registered nurse, or physician assistant can administer or assist the resident with self-administration of medication, they must undergo training conducted by a nurse, doctor, or physician assistant.

HIPAA protocol

Nursing home residents in Arizona are protected by the Healthcare Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA). Therefore, the residents’ identities should be protected at all times. All staff members who work in nursing homes must be trained, educated, and updated on their company’s HIPAA agreement. If they are not properly informed or trained in the HIPAA guidelines, this can negatively affect the residents, employees, and the entire facility in various ways. It is strongly suggested that nursing home employees be very careful and attentive when speaking about their resident’s conditions.

The staffing requirements in Arizona nursing homes

The staffing requirements in Arizona are mostly lenient. In fact, under Ariz. Admin. Code § 9-10-412, nursing homes meet the staffing requirements as long as:

  • A nurse is available and on duty at all times. While this is the standard of care, there must be more than one nurse present if the nursing home has more than 64 residents.
  • Residents are properly cared for and receive their services 24 hours a day.
  • The director of nursing does not provide direct care on a regular basis if there are 60 or more residents.
  • The director of nursing develops a plan and decides how many nurses and staff members are needed based on the residents’ needs and conditions. This is the number of staff members that should be on each shift.

Nursing home resident rights that must be respected

When individuals become residents of Arizona nursing homes, they still have rights that must be respected and maintained. As a matter of fact, they can still talk and see their families and friends, participate in activities they enjoy, have privacy, have a sense of choice in the things they like and don’t like, and live comfortably and safely. If a resident’s rights are not respected or maintained, a lawsuit may emerge.

At Garcia & Artigliere, we take Phoenix nursing home abuse cases very seriously. Therefore, if you believe your elderly loved one was harmed because the facility failed to follow the standards of care in nursing homes, please call our office or submit our contact form right away. We will sit down with you, learn more about your experience, help you collect evidence, and prepare a strong case against the facility who abused your loved one. You can schedule a free consultation at one of our locations in Phoenix, Long Beach, Los Angeles, Louisville, or New Orleans today.