Because many nursing home residents are on the federal Medicare or Medicaid programs, most nursing homes in Kentucky have to pay careful attention to federal rules and regulations that are binding on homes that take patients who have this federally subsidized health insurance.
One of the requirements is that a nursing home have adequate staffing. Specifically, there must be enough licensed nurses available in the nursing home that they can, collectively, cover the needs of each patient in the home. This type of care must be available at all times.
Additionally, every day, a nursing professional licensed as a registered nurse, that is, not as a nurse's aide or even an LPN, has to be on duty for an eight-hour shift.
While nursing homes can get special permission to deviate from these rules, such as when there is a nursing shortage, generally speaking, the facility has to have enough medical professionals on staff to make sure that their patients can at least maintain their current medical condition and trajectory. In other words, a staffing shortage is not an excuse for a nursing home patient to have to suffer a worsened medical condition.
While these standards are federal rules that are enforced by the federal government, they also can be helpful to the victims of nursing home abuse and their families. At a minimum, the serve as a yardstick that shows whether or not a Kentucky nursing home is providing patients with the staff they both need and deserve. When nursing facilities do not measure up to these standards, it is quite possible that have committed nursing home negligence. They can be held accountable for this negligence via an appropriate civil lawsuit.