June 29, 2017
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This is the third in a series of articles that will highlight the ways in which Indiana laws protect negligent nursing homes and other wrongdoers, and in doing so, jeopardize the safety of Hoosiers.

Nursing homes under-staff direct nursing care positions to boost profits.

understaffed nursing homesIn our last article, we discussed how Indiana laws actually permit the nursing home industry to operate nursing homes full of patients, without having a registered nurse on duty for most of the day.  Nursing homes do this by delegating the nursing care to other staff members, such as nurses aides, who do not have the background, training or experience of a registered nurse.  As dangerous as this is, it gets worse.

In addition to not having registered nurses most hours of the day, the Indiana nursing home industry is not required to maintain minimum staffing levels for direct nursing care (which includes all levels of nursing staff except the director of nursing).  Too many nursing home operators take advantage of this loophole by short-staffing their facilities in order to boost their profit margins, and in doing so neglect the needs of Hoosier patients.  Studies from nonprofit organization Consumer Voice, New York University and the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services, an agency of the United States Department of Health and Human Services, have determined that the recommended minimum amount of care required for the care of a resident of a nursing home was 4.1 hours per day, per resident. That consists of 2.8 hours from nursing assistants, .55 hours from licensed practical nurses, who have a one year degree and a license from the state, and .75 hours from registered nurses who have anywhere from 2 to 4 years or more of education as well as a state license. The state of Indiana only requires a .5 hour of care from licensed nurses. Indiana does not have any requirement for direct care staff.

The lack of staffing allowed under Indiana law has consequences.  Not too long ago, an AARP Bulletin warned that Indiana had the highest number of poor performing nursing homes in the United States.   By way of example, the Bulletin described how in one nursing home, two certified nursing assistants were required to care for 20 dementia patients, some of whom were incapacitated.  As is too often the case in Indiana nursing homes, a patient ultimately developed a “horrific pressure sore” as a result of the inadequate care.  The Bulletin went on to discuss how Indiana nursing homes scored the worst of any state in a recent federal government report.

Many other states require nursing home operators to utilize a minimum number of direct care nursing staff in order to ensure the patient’s care needs are properly addressed.  Why should Hoosier nursing home patients be denied this basic protection?

If you believe you may have a potential nursing home lawsuit, the Powless Law Firm, P.C. would like to help. You can request a free case consultation today by calling us at 877-769-5377 or by submitting the free case consultation form by clicking below:

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Please share this article with those who have loved ones in an Indiana nursing home.

 

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