Choosing to place a loved one in a nursing home is a major decision that many Americans may someday be forced to make. As individuals age, they often need more help than a home environment can provide, and nursing homes can step in to offer this additional around-the-clock medical care.
To reinforce the serious responsibility that nursing homes carry, the 100th U.S. Congress drafted the Nursing Home Reform Act as part of the Omnibus Budget Reconciliation Act in 1987. This act outlines federal standards for nursing home safety, as well as several rules and regulations that nursing homes must follow to keep their patients safe. Read on to learn more about what constitutes the federal standards for nursing home safety, as well as the ways a skilled injury attorney could help.
What the Nursing Home Reform Act Mandates
Nursing homes are required by law to provide an acceptable level of care to their residents. Since nursing homes are often tasked with caring for elderly and infirm patients, the federal government requires them to ensure they have an adequate facility, staff, and administration to operate safely and effectively. Under the Nursing Home Reform Act, nursing homes and their respective administrators must:
- Hire an adequate number of experienced and trained staff members
- Maintain detailed clinical records that are easily accessible to patients and their family members
- Provide sufficient pharmaceutical services
- Ensure residents receive medications in a timely manner
- Conduct regular inspections of the facility and its grounds, repairing any potential problems
- Ensure that patients who need help performing daily tasks receive this assistance
- Provide appropriate supervision to patients and respond promptly to patient concerns
Many additional regulations more specifically govern feeding, medical care, and patient dignity. If someone suspects a nursing home is not following these federal standards for nursing home safety, they should not hesitate to contact an experienced injury attorney for help.
Penalties for Federal Violations
Nursing homes are required to follow federal operational standards, and failure to do so can be penalized in many ways. These penalties are enforced aggressively and are meant to punish poorly run nursing homes and reward those that provide high-quality care. Many nursing homes receive payments directly from Medicare and Medicaid and can lose funding from these agencies if they do not adhere to federal rules and regulations. Nursing homes that do not receive payments can face additional high fines if they fail to follow the federal standards for nursing home safety. Fines are implemented until the nursing home can prove it follows regulations. In the most extreme circumstances, the government can take over the operation of a nursing home and implement a new administration and staff.
Learn More About Federal Standards for Nursing Home Safety
The federal standards for nursing home safety must be followed by all nursing home facilities, and those that fail to do so must be held accountable. When these standards are compromised in any way, so is the quality of care that the patients in the home receive. Contact a determined nursing home attorney to learn more about personal injury law, or if you believe a facility is not adhering to its federal standards.