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Does a nursing home have to have a nurse on duty?

On Behalf of | Aug 23, 2022 | Nursing Home Abuse

If one of your parents or loved ones is currently living in a nursing home or will be soon, you may have concerns about the level of care they receive.

The federal government has established laws that require nursing homes to have sufficient staff to keep residents safe. Here is what you need to know about healthcare staffing in nursing homes.

Is a nursing home required to have a nurse on duty?

While the federal government does not currently have tailored laws that dictate optimum staffing levels for individual nursing homes, there are some base staffing requirements in place for nursing homes.

Registered nurses

Your loved one’s nursing home must have a minimum of one registered nurse (RN) on duty for eight hours in a row every single day of the week.

Licensed practical nurses

At least one licensed practical nurse (LPN) or RN must be available to your loved one 24 hours a day.

Certified nursing assistants

While there are no minimum staffing requirements for certified nursing assistants (CNAs), these medical professionals will provide a significant amount of your loved one’s care and should make up a large portion of the nursing home’s full-time care staff.

How can I find out what a nursing home’s staffing level is?

Because nursing homes must report their staffing levels to the federal government, Medicare.gov has a helpful database of detailed staffing information. It contains valuable data like an overall staffing rating, average number of residents per day, a breakdown of hands-on care time with each resident per day and staff turnover rates.

By knowing the federal laws regarding nursing home staff requirements and researching individual nursing home statistics, you can make informed decisions for your loved one’s care.