New Law Is Expected to Increase Nurse-to-Patient Ratios
The number of patients that nurses care for and the number of care hours per patient can have a significant impact on the treatment of nursing home residents. In general, understaffed nursing homes have been associated with lower standards of care and higher occurrences of abuse such as neglect. Our nursing home abuse attorney wants families of those in nursing homes to know about proposed legislation that would help establish improved nurse-to-patient ratios in New York. According to the New York State Nurses Association, this law would include regulations for nursing homes in addition to hospitals and other healthcare settings.
Safe Staffing for Quality Care Act
This proposed legislation would introduce regulations that would affect nursing homes, hospitals and other healthcare facilities throughout New York. In order to lower the risk of understaffing, hospital nurses would only be allowed to care for a certain number of patients. Healthcare facilities would be required to ensure that enough nursing staff is available to provide quality care to patients. These staffing levels would have to be disclosed to the public as well. RNs, CNAs and LPNs would be required to provide a minimum number of care hours per patient in nursing homes. This would help ensure that nursing home residents receive the care they need, which in turn should help minimize abuse and neglect.
Understaffing and Abuse
The number of abuse and other adverse outcomes is associated with lower staffing levels in healthcare settings. The Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality reports that nurses experience greater amounts of stress and job dissatisfaction when they have larger workloads. This stress can lead to burnout, a higher risk of neglecting patients, or providing low-quality care, which can have serious health consequences for those patients.
Measures have been taken at the federal level to reduce understaffing in nursing homes. The Nursing Home Reform Act, introduced in 1987, consists of requirements that help ensure that residents receive high-quality care. Such requirements include comprehensive care plans for patients and the services of full-time social workers in larger facilities to check on residents’ well-being. This act also established the Residents’ Bill of Rights for nursing home residents.
If you are worried that a loved one is being neglected or abused in a nursing home, please contact Garcia, Artigliere & Medby to speak to a nursing home abuse attorney.