On July 31st, Congresswoman Jan Schakowsky of Illinois introduced Put a Registered Nurse in the Nursing Home Act or H.R. 5373. This new bill calls for strict mandates on nursing homes that receive Medicare and/or Medicaid reimbursements. If passed, this legislation would require these facilities to have one registered nurse on duty at all times.
The bill was recently passed on to the Health Subcommittee for review.
Currently, federal law only requires nursing facilities to have an RN on duty for a minimum of eight hours each day. This requirement fails to take into account the size of the facility or the health conditions of the residents.
Congresswoman Schakowsky issued a statement stating that those in nursing home facilities may go up to 16 hours without an RN there who can diagnose their medical needs. This puts those residents in danger should something go wrong.
Today, nursing facilities care for residents with a variety of health problems. Some residents’ conditions can abruptly change at any time and require immediate medical assistance.
An RN has the necessary skill, training, and licensure to effectively assess a resident’s status and respond with the proper treatment. Long-term care advocacy organizations emphasize that this requirement will improve resident care and even reduce the number of unnecessary hospitalizations. Studies have revealed that residents in facilities with a high registered nurse presence have fewer problems with pressure ulcers or bedsores, urinary tract infections, weight loss, and even cognitive decline.
With an RN continuously on duty, these facilities can ensure that their residents receive proper medical care 24 hours per day, 7 days a week.