Immigration Law Changes and Nursing Home Neglect

elias-castillo-658736-unsplash-copy-300x200In Oceanside and throughout much of Southern California, many nursing homes and assisted-living facilities are staffed by immigrants who are residing in the country under Temporary Protected Status (TPS), according to a recent article in the Los Angeles Times. What is the connection between nursing home staff members working in the country under TPS and risks of nursing home negligence? In short, as the article contends, the Trump administration’s targeting of immigrants could result in significant nursing home staff shortages in California in particular. As a report from the Urban Institute for the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) explains, maintaining a staff-to-resident ratio at skilled nursing and assisted-living facilities is essential to prevent unintended nursing home neglect.

Trump Administration Ending TPS for Immigrants

The article in the Los Angeles Times explains that there are currently about 59,000 Haitians who are living and working in the U.S. under TPS, and many more thousands from other countries. TPS is a humanitarian program, and for Haitians it provided immigrants with the ability to live and work in the United States following the devastating earthquake in 2010. Yet many people living and working in the U.S. under TPS may need to leave the country given that “the Trump administration decided to end TPS for Haitians, giving them until July 22, 2019, to leave the country or face deportation.”

Currently, about 55,000 immigrants in California are living and working under TPS, and most of them are from El Salvador. Based on indications from the Trump administration, those individuals likely will lose protection in September 2019. Southern California in particular is “home to a large Central American immigrant population,” which means that “senior care businesses could lose employees because of the change in status of some Salvadoran workers.”

Understanding Staffing Requirements at California Nursing Homes

Approximately one million immigrant workers in the country are staffed in senior care facilities, some as certified nursing assistants or as personal care attendants. Given that there is already a shortage of workers in nursing homes and assisted living facilities throughout California and the U.S. more generally, the loss of thousands of additional workers due to shifts in immigration law could have devastating results for elderly residents who rely on fully staffed facilities.

What are the staffing requirements in California? In general, the California Health & Safety Code requires nursing homes in the state to have adequate staff numbers to meet the needs of the residents. More specifically, each skilled nursing facility must provide at least 3.2 hours of nursing care for every resident in the facility each day. Under federal law, nursing homes needs to have a registered nurse on duty for at least eight hours every day, seven days per week. In addition, nursing homes are required to have a licensed nurse—either an RN or an LPN—on duty 24 hours per day. Without adequate staffing, residents can sustain serious injuries as a result of neglect.

Learn More from an Oceanside Nursing Home Neglect Lawyer

If you have questions or concerns about a senior’s safety in a skilled nursing facility, an Oceanside nursing home neglect attorney can help with your case. Contact the Walton Law Firm today to speak with an advocate.

See Related Blog Posts:

How Corporate Interests Affect Nursing Home Neglect Cases

Teaching Seniors in Encinitas to Avoid Injuries in Falls

(image courtesy of Elias Castillo)