Understanding a Nursing Home’s Standard of Care Requirement

By Peter DePaolis

Every state’s department of health has a list of requirements and rules for nursing homes. These are what most people consider the “standard of care.” While they are the state’s requirements for licensing, and certainly a measure of good or bad care, they are not the only measurement that can be used.

There are industry-wide standards, and a measurement that takes into consideration the standard of care of other providers in the area.

When a resident is injured because a facility failed to follow these standards, they might be liable for the injury – depending on the evidence.

What is Expected of a Nursing Home?

Expectations based on other facilities in the area, industry-wide standards, as well as licensing board standards use some of the following expectations when determining whether or not the standard of care has been met.

  1. Providing Trained, Adequate Staff – A nursing home must have sufficient staff on hand to meet the needs of every resident in the facility. Also, skilled care facilities must have nursing staff in addition to other employees and certified nursing assistants on hand to help.
  2. Making Reasonable Accommodations for Residents – A nursing home must provide accommodations that meet the individual needs and preferences of their residents. This includes adapting schedules, staff assignments, room arrangements, meals, and other methods to accommodate those paying for their service.
  3. Assistance with Daily Hygiene – People living in a nursing home are there because they need assistance even with the basics of daily hygiene. A nursing home is expected to have staff on hand to assist their patients with these tasks.
  4. Fluids and Hydration – Nursing homes are required to ensure all patients have sufficient fluids and prevent dehydration in their patients. They must not only supply fresh water, but other beverages to encourage drinking.
  5. Food and Adequate Nutrition – Nursing homes must provide a well-balanced diet that meets the dietary nutritional demands of their patients. That may require snacks throughout the day, specialized meal programs for those with sensitivities or diabetes, and substitutes for situations where a resident might refuse the item on the menu for that day.
  6. Medications – Residents in a nursing home are likely to have a plethora of medications they rely on daily. Therefore, nursing homes are required to provide their patients with their daily medications, but also any medication necessary to maintain health, treat an illness, or prevent an illness.
  7. Infection Control – Nursing homes are also expected to investigate, control, and prevent infections in their facility among patients and staff.

Was Your Loved One Ignored?

Sadly, it’s not uncommon for nursing homes throughout the country to fail to meet this basic standard of care. Their residents are injured as a result and in some cases, a wrongful death may occur. If you have a loved one who has been abused or neglected in a nursing home, speak with a nursing home attorney immediately.

A nursing home abuse attorney from Koonz McKenney Johnson & DePaolis LLP can assist you with your case. Schedule your free case evaluation by calling one of our three office locations or by connecting with us online.

About the Author
Peter DePaolis joined the firm in 1980 and has since represented a large number of individuals involved in automobile collisions, truck accidents, bus crashes, defective products, and medical malpractice cases. A significant portion of Mr. DePaolis’ practice is devoted to working on behalf of people suffering from asbestosis, mesothelioma, and other asbestos-related cancers. He has led his firm’s fight against the asbestos industry and has recovered over $30 million in damages for asbestos victims and their families.