North Carolina legislature attempting to improve nursing home care

The responsibilities held by nursing homes in North Carolina and across the country are significant. They must provide for the daily and medical needs of their residents, who often require significant interventions to preserve a comfortable quality of life. Unfortunately, many nursing homes in North Carolina are not adequately staffed or equipped to provide a high standard of care for their residents.

Consequently, the North Carolina legislature recently identified its top priorities for improving nursing home care in the upcoming year. The group tasked with this responsibility has indicated it will work to increase the number of certified nursing assistants - or CNAs - providing care in North Carolina's nursing homes. Increasing the ratio of CNAs to residents in these facilities has been shown to have a number of significant benefits, including:

  • Lowering the number of health care deficiencies.
  • Reducing hospitalization rates.
  • Lowering the number of government-cited deficiencies.

The legislature's previous focus had been on ensuring the quality of employees providing care at North Carolina's long-term care facilities. The legislature passed Senate Bill 542, which provides that nursing homes must require those applying for jobs to take a drug test.

North Carolina's nursing homes rank 37th in the country

These changes are particularly important considering the results of a study recently conducted by Families for Better Care. The researchers examined nursing homes based on a number of factors in all 50 states. Overall, North Carolina's nursing homes were given a "D" rating and were ranked 37th in the country.

One of the primary reasons for North Carolina's poor score was the staffing levels at the long-term care facilities in the state. The state received failing scores for the number of facilities with above average direct care and RN staffing levels. On average, nursing home residents in North Carolina receive just 2.4 hours of direct care and 0.74 hours of care from an RN each day.

In addition, the Families for Better Care study found that almost 95 percent of the nursing homes in North Carolina have been cited for deficiencies.

When you decide to place a loved one in a nursing home, you must rely on the facility to provide satisfactory care for your loved one. If your loved one is residing in a long-term care facility in North Carolina and you suspect he or she has not been treated appropriately, consulting with a knowledgeable personal injury attorney will help you identify your options.