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Why is nursing home staffing so important?

Your loved one needs long-term care because of mobility or health issues, and you may assume that the Georgia nursing home staff will provide that assistance. However, this is not necessarily the case, particularly if he or she needs a significant amount of staff attention for basic self-care tasks such as getting out of bed or a chair, walking or going to the bathroom.

According to The National Consumer Voice for Quality Long-Term Care, understaffing is a serious problem that can put your loved one at risk. The federal government provides recommendations for staffing levels. Each resident should get a minimum of 4.1 hours of total care daily. This includes approximately half an hour from a licensed practical nurse and 45 minutes from an RN. The bulk of care, 2.8 hours, may be provided by nursing assistants. 

Although these standards have been determined as the minimum necessary to prevent serious health conditions, the government does not require your family member's facility to hire a certain ratio of staff to residents. Instead, the regulations state only that the staff must be sufficient to fulfill the appropriate level of care.

If there is not enough staff, your relative is in danger of the following:

  • Bed sores
  • Poor nutrition, weight loss and dehydration
  • Mobility loss
  • Falls
  • Incontinence
  • Hospitalization

Along with the physical suffering, your family member may also experience a loss of dignity, fear and isolation. Each year, many nursing home residents who do not receive the required care sustain severe injuries and illnesses, and nursing home neglect or abuse is often fatal. 

This information about staffing needs in nursing homes is educational in nature, and should not replace the advice of an attorney.

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