Next Avenue: ‘Nursing homes aren’t warehouses’: Will new staffing rules improve care? Why critics are pushing back.

by | Oct 11, 2023 | Stock Market

This article is reprinted by permission from Americans gave nursing homes a D+ for quality of care in a recent Gallup/West Health poll and most said they’d be uncomfortable being admitted into one or admitting a loved one. One reason could be the severe understaffing problems facing the 1.2 million residents in the nation’s 15,000 nursing homes.

The lack of registered nurses, or RNs, licensed practical nurses, or LPNs, and certified nursing assistants in many nursing homes recently led the Biden administration to propose national minimum staffing requirements.Improving safety and care The goal, said U.S. Health and Human Services Secretary Xavier Becerra, is to “improve resident safety and promote high-quality care so residents and their families can have peace of mind.” About one-fifth of all COVID-19 deaths in the U.S. during the pandemic were at nursing homes. Currently, 38 states have minimum staffing standards at nursing homes, but many of those standards are low or over 20 years old. Studies have shown that higher nursing-home staffing has been associated with better patient care and health outcomes. The new rules would provide nursing home residents with a minimum number of hours of care per day. They would also ensure that an RN would be on site 24 hours a day, seven days a week. The administration says 22% of nursing homes would need to hire RNs to meet that requirement. Today, nursing homes must have at least one RN for a minimum of eight straight hours a day and an RN, LPN or LVN (a licensed vocational nurse) on duty 24 hours per day. The Lo …

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