The neglect and abuse of seniors in care facilities is a long-standing issue that has only worsened with the shortage of nursing staff. With evidence pointing to a direct correlation between mistreatment and staffing numbers, it’s clear that minimum staffing requirements are necessary. The Biden Administration has finally taken action by setting federal minimum staffing requirements for skilled nursing facilities, nursing homes, and other long-term care facilities.
Advocates have been pushing for minimum staffing requirements for years and it’s expected to result in significant improvement in senior care. However, questions remain about how to find the 187,000 new workers needed and how to generate the $10 billion required to provide adequate care.
Minimum staffing regulations vary by state, with New York leading the way by enforcing regulations that fine facilities $2,000 per day for non-compliance. These regulations require each facility to have a CNA, RN, or LPN providing 3.5 hours of care per day for every resident. The law also outlines budget requirements, with 70% of revenue going toward resident care and 40% toward resident-facing staffing.
Pennsylvania recently passed a $515 million budget to support nursing homes in hiring more nurses and improving training programs. It’s unclear what the NY state budget is for nursing homes, but funding will only go to facilities that meet the 70/40 budget requirements. This investment in long-term care will allow facilities to meet staffing needs, attract experienced and talented nurses, and incentivize them to stay.
The residents are the ones who will benefit most from these mandatory staffing requirements. They will receive more individualized attention, preventing conditions like falls and bed sores, and leading to a better quality of life.
There may be differing opinions in the industry, but the necessary measures are being taken to make minimum staffing requirements a reality. These regulations will have a profound impact on the senior care industry and set the standard for care moving forward.