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Nursing Home Complaint Regarding Inadequate Staffing

One frequent excuse that is made when things go wrong in caring for a nursing home resident is "we just didn't have enough help/staff/people". As the regulations demonstrate, this is not an excuse but a damning admission.

The federal regulations provide:

The facility must have sufficient nursing staff to provide nursing
and related services to attain or maintain the highest practicable 
physical, mental, and psychosocial well-being of each resident, as 
determined by resident assessments and individual plans of care. 
  (a) Sufficient staff. 
(1) The facility must provide services by sufficient numbers of each of 
the following types of personnel on a 24-hour basis to provide nursing 
care to all residents in accordance with resident care plans: (i) Except
when waived under paragraph (c) of this section, licensed nurses; and (ii)
Other nursing personnel. 
(2) Except when waived under paragraph (c) of this section, the facility 
must designate a licensed nurse to serve as a charge nurse on each tour of
duty. 
  (b) Registered nurse. 
(1) Except when waived under paragraph (c) or (d) of this section, the 
facility must use the services of a registered nurse for at least 8 
consecutive hours a day, 7 days a week. 
(2) Except when waived under paragraph (c) or (d) of this section, the 
facility must designate a registered nurse to serve as the director of 
nursing on a full time basis. 
(3) The director of nursing may serve as a charge nurse only when the 
facility has an average daily occupancy of 60 or fewer residents.

42 CFR 483.30(a)-(b)

Illinois state regulations have a formula which mathematically determines the minimum number of nurses and CNA's who must be on hand to care for the residents in the facility. However, the federal regulations have a much simpler standard - you have to be able to meet the care needs of the residents on a 24/7 basis. Since the Illinois Department of Public Health is responsible for enforcing the federal regulations, having an inadequate number of staff is a legitimate basis for filing a nursing home complaint with the Illinois Department of Public Health

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The submission process was easy to use and very straightforward. After submitting my complaint, I received confirmation from the Illinois Dept. of Public Health that they had received my complaint and would be investigating the nursing home.

-S.B., Filed nursing home complaint about Provena McAuley Manor in Aurora Illinois

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