No Nurses in a Nursing Home?

Date: December 1, 2014

If your loved one is in a nursing home and is woken up at 3am with chest pain, in need of a critical care, you would expect that there would be the proper staff in the nursing home to take care of your loved one, or you would at least expect a nurse to be there. This would not be misled thinking, after all a nursing home has the word “nurse” in it. People might be surprised to hear that a New York Times article recently proclaimed that there is no federal law requiring every nursing home facility to have a nurse there 24 hours round clock and there has been recent protest in prder to change it.

The recent proposal “Put a Registered Nurse in a Nursing Home Act”, the very explicit bill, hopes to end this lack of care by requiring all nursing homes, which are reimbursed by the government agencies Medicare or Medicaid, to have a nurse around the clock.. There is a current law passed from 1987 that nursing homes are required to have nurses to be there only eight hours a day.  The major problem with this of course is that emergencies don’t fall on a nine to five schedule. They can happen at any time. It is the duty of the nursing to be there for its patients anytime when they are needed. Thirteen states,  not including Pennsylvania, already obtain legislation requiring a 24 hour nurse coverage. However the legislation varies as some states require it only in a certain nursing homes depending the number of beds or type of patients in contains. Information from this article states that 11.4% of nursing homes do not have a nurse around the clock and this percentage in fact could be higher than calculated.

The spokesperson of this movement is Ms.Grant, “director of public policy and advocacy for the National Consumer Voice for Quality Long-Tern Care.” In her argument for the passing of this legislation she says “Without someone to make an assessment right then and there, that resident could be at risk. Maybe he won’t be hospitalized when it’s necessary. Just as dangerously, maybe someone will call 911 when it could be treated int the nursing home and avoid being hospitalized.” Despite her stating that registered nurses cannot solve all the problems associated with nursing homes she hopes that by passing this legislation, it will show improvement in the facilities that our loved ones depend on.


All the information from this blog post can be found from the following link:‑are‑the‑nurses/

Sean McDonough
Upon graduation from law school, he entered the private practice of law with Dougherty, Leventhal & Price. He has been a partner with the firm since 1993. Over the years, Sean has concentrated his practice in the areas of personal injury litigation; he has also represented governmental entities and officials in federal civil rights and employment lawsuits. Sean also works on many of DLP's Nursing Home Abuse cases.