Do low nursing care hours affect Alabama nursing home residents?

If your loved one is occupying one of the thousands of nursing home beds in Alabama, you may feel some concern over whether the facility is providing adequate care. According to experts, your loved one should receive 4.1 hours of direct nursing care each day to maintain a healthy quality of life. If your loved one is in a nursing home that is poorly staffed, it is quite possible that this is not occurring.

Federal compliance for nursing home care requires that services must be provided to help your loved one achieve the highest practicable level of well-being. Advanced Practice Nursing, a professional journal for nursing home staff, recommends a regular assessment to be conducted beyond the initial evaluation. This will help determine if new risk factors exist which may lead to a fall, a significant risk factor if your family member is aged 65 or older. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention note that approximately 1,800 nursing home residents die from fall-related injuries each year.

Families for Better Care, an elderly advocacy group, graded Alabama nursing home care and discovered that, on average, nurses spent 2 hours and 38 minutes with each resident. However, they note that this number could be inflated. Staffing hours are rarely audited by the state or by the Center for Medicare and Medicaid Services, so claims may not reflect actual care that your loved one is receiving.

Just 22 minutes of direct care can make a difference in whether the facility is providing your family member with a reasonable standard of care. If you suspect that your loved one is receiving at or below the state average level of care, you may want to register a complaint with a long-term care ombudsman. This is general information intended to educate and should not be taken as legal advice.

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