In the last year, most nursing homes have lost at least half of their nurses and aides, which could complicate federal efforts to increase staffing level requirements.
We are starting a reporting project to better understand the impact low staffing levels have on the daily realities of nursing home workers, on resident health outcomes and on people’s access to quality facilities.
The timing is right to dig in on the topic.
Nursing homes have seen increased departures during the pandemic and many have struggled to refill jobs left by registered nurses, licensed nurses and certified nursing assistants. Unions in some states have argued that the pay is too low for the difficulty of the work and the hazards faced on the job.
We are particularly interested in hearing from people who live in Louisiana, Texas, Oklahoma, New Mexico, Missouri, Georgia, Indiana, and Ohio, where federal data shows nurse staffing levels are among the lowest.
In Louisiana, for instance, the average nursing home resident receives less than half the care time from registered nurses as is recommended by federal regulators.
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Benefits and challenges of nursing home staffing
Increased nurse staffing is linked to better health outcomes for nursing-home residents, which is one reason why President Joe Biden has proposed setting nationwide minimum staffing levels. But industry leaders fear that they might have to reduce the number of people they serve in nursing homes if they cannot hire enough workers to meet those new standards, calling, in part, for increased reimbursement rates from Medicaid.
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Government data on staffing levels, resident demographics, and enforcement actions as well as federal and state laws will give us a snapshot of nursing homes today. To get the full picture, we need to talk to administrators, nurses, aides, relatives, residents, lawyers and advocates about your experiences with nursing home staffing levels.
If you can help, please fill out the form above or at this link. None of your answers will be published without your consent. If you have any questions about this survey or would like to speak directly to the reporting team, please contact USA TODAY Senior Data Reporter Jayme Fraser at firstname.lastname@example.org or by text or Signal at (541) 362-1393.
Fill out our form: Help USA TODAY learn about staffing levels at nursing homes