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Wisconsin | FAQs

Are nursing homes required to have a minimum level of staffing?

When nursing homes economize by hiring too few staff, residents are at risk for neglect or abuse

Yes, federal and state regulations require nursing homes to have at least a minimum number of staff members, and the nursing homes’ job of providing reasonable care for all residents requires them to have appropriate staff on duty at all times.

Specific Regulations

Federal regulations require most nursing homes to designate one registered nurse (RN) as a Director of Nursing. Additionally, nursing homes must have an RN working eight consecutive hours seven days a week and an RN or a licensed vocational nurse on duty for the other 16 hours a day. Of course, these individuals can’t do it alone, and other staff members are required to meet the needs of nursing home residents.

  • In Wisconsin, state regulations require nursing homes to have staff sufficient “to meet the specific needs of each resident.” This includes specific requirements for licensed nursing staff and direct care staff.
     
  • In Illinois, state regulations also require nursing homes to have staff “to meet the needs of the residents.” As in Wisconsin, this includes specific requirements for licensed nursing staff and direct care staff including nurses, nursing assistants, rehabilitation aides, psychology coordinators and aides, and others.
     
  • In Iowa, the requirements are similar. State regulations require nursing homes to have staff “to meet the needs of individual residents.” As in other states, this includes licensed nursing staff and direct care staff.

Cost Is No Excuse for Nursing Home Abuse or Neglect Due to Understaffing

Some nursing homes may try and hire fewer staff members in an effort to cut costs. However, the cost savings of hiring fewer staff members may be shortsighted. In the long run it may cost less to hire an adequate number of staff members then it would cost to:

  • Pay damages in a nursing home abuse or neglect case. Staff members who have a lot of residents to care for may become frustrated or may fail to provide reasonable care.
     
  • Continuously train new staff due to a high staff turnover rate. Staff members who are overworked may look for work in a different facility.

Nursing homes and long-term care facilities must be held accountable for patients that have suffered wrongful death or serious injury as a result of nursing home understaffing. This cause of nursing home abuse is never acceptable. If your loved one has been hurt, please contact us today via this website or by phone at 1-800-800-5678 to learn more.

Jason F. Abraham
Managing Partner, Hupy and Abraham

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