Nursing homes in Louisiana are defined as a specific type of long-term nursing facility. These facilities help elderly residents get around, take care of their daily needs, and live a comfortable and safe lifestyle. Since nursing homes are open and house people 24 hours a day, the medical practitioners and staff members are in charge of making sure that the residents’ needs and wants are met throughout the day and night. Every resident can have different needs.
For example, one patient may be paralyzed and need complete help with all their daily tasks, while another resident may need minor assistance with taking a shower, remembering their medication times, and getting dressed. Therefore, it is the nursing home’s obligation to meet the standards of care to ensure that every single resident is taken care of no matter how different or time consuming they might be.
Which agency regulates and provides licensing to the nursing home facilities in Louisiana?
The Louisiana Department of Health is in charge of regulating and licensing nursing homes in the state of Louisiana. This means that once a nursing home has received its license, it will remain licensed until the license expiration date. However, the Department of Health can also make the decision to suspend, revoke, or even terminate a nursing home’s license at any time if they do not meet the regulations put in place to keep residents and staff members safe.
When a complaint is made about a specific nursing home, the Department of Health will send an investigator to the facility to investigate the reason for the complaint. Once the investigator evaluates the problem, they will let the facility know how to fix it as well as post the results online to ensure that they are being fully transparent with the residents’ family members as well as the community.
The standards of care in nursing homes in the state of Louisiana
There are specific standards of care in nursing homes that must be followed in order to provide and maintain a safe and healthy environment for residents. Below, you will find several of the most vital standards of care requirements for Louisiana nursing homes.
Certification and licensure requirements
According to Louisiana Code § 9703, every single nursing home is required to obtain a license from the Louisiana Department of Health. It is against the law to run any type of nursing facility in the state of Louisiana without a valid and up-to-date license.
If a nursing home makes the decision to accept residents who are paying with Medicaid or Medicare, they will need to meet the federal requirements in addition to the state requirements. They can also decide to offer other services, which may require additional licensing by those providers.
The proper administration of medications in Louisiana nursing homes
In Louisiana, it is the nursing home’s duty to administer prescribed medications to the residents. These medications may be used to treat or manage a resident’s medical condition. Therefore, in order to avoid any mistakes or errors, Louisiana Code § 9861 goes over the proper way for nursing homes to complete this task, which includes:
- Only prescriptions ordered by a licensed medical practitioner are allowed to be given to residents. These prescriptions should be in writing and have the medical provider’s signature.
- Only medical personnel can administer medications to nursing home residents. This means that only doctors, nurses, or physician assistants can give medications to residents at a nursing home facility.
- Prescriptions should be given no later than two hours after being prepared. The same person who prepared the doses is required to give the medication to the resident.
- If the nursing home allows self-administration of prescriptions, the resident may give themselves their own medications as long as the nursing home believes it is safe for them to do so. There should be documentation of this if allowed.
- If any mistakes are made while administering medications, a doctor or nurse should be notified immediately, and it should be documented. If any reactions to medications occur, the doctor or nurse should also be notified of this, and it should also be documented.
- The nursing home is in charge of ensuring that all residents receive their medications on time.
- If a resident needs emergency medications for any reason, the nursing home is responsible for ensuring that a doctor approves the medication before providing it to the resident.
- There should be an emergency medication kit on site for emergency purposes. In addition, the nursing home must receive a permit for this emergency medication kit.
Louisiana nursing home facilities are considered to be a healthcare service. Therefore, all nursing homes are covered under the Healthcare Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA). As a result of this, residents’ identity information is protected and secured at all costs.
In order to ensure that staff members are always complying with their employer’s HIPAA protocols, they must attend routine training and education programs. One minor violation of HIPAA can lead to many serious consequences. It is crucial that staff members who work in nursing homes are aware of the risks and remain cautious about discussing any information about their residents.
When it comes to staffing requirements in Louisiana nursing homes, there are specific standards of care that must be met, such as:
- There should be enough nursing staff to care for and provide the needed services for each resident.
- There should be an adequate number of medical personnel, including CNAs, LPNs, and RNs, to take care of the residents’ medical needs 24 hours a day.
- The nursing homes must devote at least 35 hours of hands-on care to every resident each day.
- Each resident must be given the proper and individualized attention based on their current medical, physical, and psychological conditions.
Residents’ rights in nursing homes in Louisiana
When individuals enter into a nursing home, they expect to be safe, comfortable, and have a good quality of life. Therefore, they have rights that must be taken into consideration and respected at all times. Some of these rights include the right to communicate and talk with people and companies that are located outside and inside the nursing home, to refuse medications, to refuse medical treatment, to refuse to participate in any studies or research projects, to make one’s own choices, to be in a safe and happy environment, and more.
Garcia & Artigliere is a law firm that has been serving clients for over 30 years. Our New Orleans nursing home abuse lawyers have built a solid reputation for being compassionate, understanding, empathetic, and determined. If you are a family member of someone in a nursing home and need legal assistance or advice regarding a complaint investigation, nursing home licensing problem, or regulatory issues, please do not hesitate to get in touch with one of our attorneys today. Call our office or submit our contact form. We are ready to meet and assist you at one of our various offices in New Orleans, Phoenix, Long Beach, Los Angeles, or Louisville.
Stephen M. Garcia represents victims of elder and nursing home abuse and is known as one of the leading civil litigators in the country. He is Senior Partner at Garcia & Artigliere, where the firm’s practice is focused on elder abuse, nursing home abuse, and wrongful death of the elderly.
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