The death of a loved one is never easy, even when that person may have been elderly or sick. However, when such a death may have been preventable, it is important to understand what may have caused the death, both to potentially seek redress, and to help society prevent future incidents from occurring. One type of preventable deaths come in the form of those due to nursing home neglect or abuse.
Because nursing home residents are typically vulnerable to illness and other bad outcomes, such as malnutrition, because of the conditions that prompted their entry to the facility in the first place, it is necessary that such facilities have the proper people on hand to care for their patents. Pennsylvania has laws that are meant to ensure that nursing homes in the state have adequate staffing to meet their residents' needs.
The requirements in Pennsylvania for nursing staff vary depending on the size of the facility involved. In the smallest facilities, those with under 60 residents, there must be one Registered Nurse (RN) on duty in the daytime, one in the evening, and either an RN or a Licensed Practical Nurse overnight. These requirements scale as facilities grow, up to the largest nursing homes, those of 1,000 residents of more, which are required to have eight RNs on duty during the day, and six in the evening and overnight. Further, there should be an attending physician for the facility, who has the duty to evaluate and proposed regimented care for the patients. This doctor must see each incoming patient within two weeks of the patient's arrival, and do a medical assessment of the individual, including a summary of past treatment and potential for rehabilitation.
Understaffing of a nursing home can lead to serious consequences. When overworked or improperly trained staff members miss something or fail to act in a timely manner, nursing home residents can be seriously injured or die. Pennsylvania residents who have suspect a love one has died due to nursing home neglect may wish to consider seeking legal compensation.