Tennessee Nursing Home Abuse LawsTennessee nursing home laws are in place under the Tennessee Department of Health to ensure that nursing homes function under uniform standards. These standards are intended to safeguard resident well-being. Tennessee nursing home laws are aimed at maintaining decency and safety on nursing home grounds throughout the state.

Specific guidelines are set for services such as medication administration and food service. Additionally, nursing home staff and administrators are required to possess adequate skills, training, and licensing in order to deliver the high standard of care set forth by Tennessee nursing home laws.

Tennessee Nursing Home Administrator Standards

Tennessee nursing home laws require certain standards for administrators and staff members of each nursing home. Nursing home administrators are required to have one of three forms of certification prior to obtaining an official administrator role.

Tennessee nursing home laws require one of the following three qualification standards:

  1. Nursing home administrators must have a Bachelor of Arts degree in Health Care Administration. This degree must be obtained from an accredited school. The degree must also include 400 credit hours of nursing home internship experience.
  2. Nursing home administrators must obtain a BA or higher which is coupled with a board-certified training program that lasted a minimum of six months.
  3. Nursing home administrators are required to earn an associate’s degree in addition to three years of working experience in a management role. Additionally, the nursing home administrator must complete a training program approved by the state board.

Background Checks

Within seven days of employment at a facility, Tennessee nursing home laws require that the employee undergo a criminal background check. These background checks are required of employees who provide direct patient care or otherwise maintain direct contact with nursing home patients. The employee must also consent to the verification of personal and work preferences. Additionally, the employee must submit to being fingerprinted and provide authorization of information that pertains to criminal history.

Resident Abuse Prevention Laws

Tennessee nursing home laws define resident abuse as “the infliction of pain, injury, or mental anguish” upon a resident. Abuse may also occur when a nursing home caretaker denies services that are necessary to achieve or maintain the overall health and well-being of the resident. Under Tennessee nursing home laws, facility employees are obligated to report suspected abuse if they have established a reasonable cause that another employee has abused a resident.

Nursing Services

An organized nursing service must be provided at each facility under Tennessee nursing home laws. This service must provide patients with 24-hour services that are supervised or furnished by a registered nurse. At all times, a licensed registered or practical nurse must be on duty. Additionally, two nursing personnel must also be on duty during each shift. These Tennessee nursing home laws are in place to ensure that patients receive adequate treatment without neglect or error.

Hygiene and Wound Prevention

Nursing home patients must receive no less than two showers per week. If requested, the patient is entitled to more. Clothing and linens must be changed consistently so that the patient is free of dirt, urine, and feces. To prevent bedsores and other possible injury, Tennessee nursing home laws are in place to protect patients who are bound to beds or chairs.

Staff members are required to change the position of each patient at least every two hours, day and night. Good body alignment must be maintained consistently. Patients with weight-bearing parts and bony prominences must receive proper skin care so that discomfort and pressure sores are prevented, unless physician orders indicate otherwise.

Food and Dietary Services

Tennessee nursing home abuse laws require that dietary services are organized, directed, and staffed by qualified personnel, based on specific guidelines. Nursing home menus must meet resident needs based on recognized dietary practices and individual patient requirements. At least three meals must be served in a 24-hour period. No more than 14 hours may pass between the evening meal and breakfast. If this occurs, a supplemental night meal must be provided.




“Guide to Long-term Care in Tennessee.” Tennessee Health Care Association. Tennessee Health Care Association. Web. 18 May 2013. http://www.thca.org/docs/GuidetoLTC2011.pdf

“Standards for Nursing Homes.” TN.gov. Tennessee Department of Health, n.d. Web. 18 May 2013. http://www.state.tn.us/sos/rules/1200/1200-08/1200-08-06.20121126.pdf