Far too many nursing homes are experiencing an extreme shortage of staff that has diminished the quality and safety of care for their elderly and disabled. Frailty and dependency on nursing home staff is prevalent among residents who not only need assistance in performing basic activities of daily living, but also monitoring of their progressively complicated medical issues. Unfortunately, many nursing homes have not hired the necessary number of staff to meet their residents’ needs.
Current Federal standards are vague and only require nursing homes to provide “sufficient staff,” without any guidelines are regulations. The consequence of giving nursing homes the power to determine the level of staffing for their facilities has been a deliverance of deficient quality of care that has placed already-vulnerable residents’ health and well-being at risk.
Several studies have proven that low staffing in nursing homes is strongly associated to poor quality of care, including avoidable hospitalizations, deteriorating activities of daily living, and more frequent incidence of pressure ulcers, weight loss, and poor resident hygiene.
In order to protect nursing home residents and ascertain that staffing decisions are made in accordance with residents’ needs, a law that calls for safe staffing levels that will ascertain residents’ safety and adequately meet residents’ basic needs must be mandated. It is crucial that nursing homes provide the elderly and disabled with the quality of care that they deserve.