MNA Statement on vulnerable adult crime bill introduced in MN Legislature

12 Jan

In light of today’s announcement of a new bill in the Minnesota Legislature that would make neglecting a vulnerable adult a more serious crime, the Minnesota Nurses Association issued the following statement:

“As nurses, nothing is more important to us than ensuring our patients – especially the most vulnerable – are protected and given the best care and treatment possible.  We applaud the idea of protecting vulnerable adults, which is why nurses have been at the forefront of the movement to highlight the need for adequate staffing inside our hospitals, nursing homes, and other care facilities.

While every caregiver – including nurses – is and should be held accountable for the quality of his or her own care, it is important we don’t lose sight of the bigger issue here: The chronic and systemic understaffing of our hospitals, nursing homes and other facilities where care is delivered.  However, if the individual caregiver does not have the ability to increase staffing when necessary, patients will remain vulnerable.

Study after study has shown the direct connection between unsafe staffing levels and adverse events for the patients entrusted to our care. And while we expect personal responsibility and accountability for caregivers of all stripes, our lawmakers should also demand the same type of accountability from the health care facilities and their managers who have the ability to ensure safe staffing.

No patient – especially our most vulnerable adults and children – should ever be neglected and suffer without need. And while there are indeed instances of caregivers failing to do their job properly, there are also countless cases of patients suffering needlessly due to unsafe staffing levels inside our hospitals and nursing homes.

We hope that the issue of unsafe staffing levels will be addressed with the same fervor by state legislators as today’s announcement.

Formed in 1905, the Minnesota Nurses Association represents more than 20,000 nurses in Minnesota, Wisconsin and Iowa. MNA is also a founding member of National Nurses United (NNU), which represents more than 170,000 RNs across the United States. Learn more at”

One Response to “MNA Statement on vulnerable adult crime bill introduced in MN Legislature”

  1. Janet Izzo, RN January 12, 2012 at 5:35 pm #

    The new bill presented in the MN Legislature today (to make it a more serious crime to neglect vulnerable adults) brings up an interesting question. Will administrators themselves (in hospitals, nursing homes and other facilities) be held accountable for neglecting vulnerable adults if it can be proven that insufficient staffing caused the neglect?
    Perhaps this will be the law that will solve the problem of under staffing. Just saying…

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