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Balancing Act: Survey Finds Nurses at Nursing Home Facilities Spend At Least Five Hours Completing Comprehensive Assessments for Nursing Home Residents

A recent survey published by the American Association of Nurse Assessment Coordination (AANAC) interviewed over 1,400 nurses nationwide, and found that completing comprehensive assessments for nursing home residents took at least five hours. These assessments made it difficult for nurses to complete other tasks on the job while working in nursing homes. While these assessments are a necessary part of the job, it is yet another task that distracts nursing home specialists and personnel from tending to the other needs of live-in residents. Naturally, tending to the needs of these residents requires attention to detail, especially when it comes to administering medication and overseeing specific care guidelines for each patient.

Unfortunately, it is sometimes the case that staff members at nursing home facilities fail to comply with care guidelines or even go against specific instructions. This was brought to light, for instance, in a recently settled case in which two Levin & Perconti attorneys found that a 78 year-old female resident died from neglect. In this case, the resident suffered from multiple pressure ulcers and dehydration. Over-medicating and under-medicating patients is another pressing issue that can lead to serious health problems and even death, something that requires attention to detail. Again, assessments and other duties are important, but so is tending to the needs of the residents at the nursing home facility. Perhaps an organization such as AANAC could recommend – based upon the findings of their survey – that nursing care facilities hire other personnel to run the assessments of patients.

Nursing Home Neglect
While duties of various kinds are to be expected from nurses and other staff members at a nursing home facility, such surveys reveal that many nursing home care specialists struggle to balance meetings, assessments, and proper care of residents. In failing to balance or juggle these things, residents suffer the consequences.

The above mentioned survey was completed by Minimum Data Set coordinators/nurse assessment coordinators. The survey found that coordinators took, on average, 193 minutes to complete Care Area Assessments. The survey also found that coordinators/nurse assessment coordinators’ time on the job was taken up by meetings. According to the survey results, employees in these positions found that 18 hours of their work week was dedicated to committee participation or meetings. Again, meetings are a necessary component to operating any type of organization. However, it is important to keep in mind that residents at nursing care facilities should come first, and that meetings should come second.

On a final note, assessments play an important role in determining the care plans for nursing home residents. After all, if coordinators/nurse assessment coordinators can’t properly assess nursing home residents, this means that errors and problems could occur with the care guidelines, and that could put your loved one’s health and life at risk. When your loved one’s health is not properly assessed, this can lead to negligence and improper care. In the worst case scenario, this could even lead to death.

If something has occurred in the assessment process that has affected the health of your loved one, it is important to seek proper legal counsel to protect your loved one’s rights.

The results of the survey can be read here.