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Nursing Home Staffing

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by -jt -jt (Member) Member

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Legislative Proposal to Improve Staffing in Nursing Homes

May 6, 2002

Washington, DC -- Citing a recent government report that revealed widespread under-staffing at our nation's nursing homes, the American Nurses Association (ANA) today threw its support behind a House measure that would improve care to residents of nursing homes by boosting staffing requirements in these facilities.....

The "Nursing Home Staffing Improvement Act of 2002," sponsored by U.S. Reps. Henry Waxman (D-CA), Janice D. Schakowsky (D-IL) and Brad Carson (D-OK), calls for nursing homes to meet the minimum staffing recommendations for registered nurses (RNs), licensed practical nurses (LPNs) and nursing assistants outlined in a Department of Health and Human Services report issued earlier this year. The bill also calls for nursing home facilities to maintain records on nurse staffing, which they must submit to HHS.......

"Nursing home residents clearly represent one of the most vulnerable segments of our population, and they deserve quality care," said ANA President Mary E. Foley, MS, RN. "Studies - and common sense - tell us that to come even close to achieving quality care, you need to have sufficient, qualified staff on board."........

Current federal regulations only require nursing homes to have one RN available eight hours a day and one LPN available 24 hours a day. Further, these minimum requirements apply to all Medicare- and Medicaid-certified nursing homes regardless of whether they have 60 residents or 600 residents. The proposed legislation requires nursing homes to staff at a threshold that has been shown to promote quality patient care.

Ninety-seven percent of nursing homes currently fail to meet this threshold........

ANA and nurses across the county have been strong advocates for increased staffing and RN involvement at long-term care facilities for many years. "Research shows that having more RNs at the bedside improves quality of care," Foley said. "Further, research indicates that having more RNs available to guide nursing assistants leads to an overall improvement in care." ........

The nursing home staffing legislation was unveiled at a Capitol Hill press conference held by Reps. Schakowsky and Carson during National Nurses Week, recognized annually May 6 through 12. The HHS report referred to in the legislation, "Appropriateness of Minimum Nurse Staffing Ratios in Nursing Homes, Phase II," has been 10 years in the making.


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