Push for adequate staffing in Kentucky

The Courier-Journal in Kentucky has a great article about the necessity to increase staffing at nursing homes, and how the nursing home industry lobbyists are fighting against it so their profits remain large despite the poor care that is guaranteed with low levels of staff.  Please read the entire article and the Comments from other interested people.  Below is a summary of the article.

Lois Pemble said she once found her mother alone, sprawled on the floor of her nursing home room, where she’d fallen.   On other occasions, Pemble found her mother with her clothes soaked in urine, waiting for help to get to the bathroom.   She has joined with Kentuckians for Nursing Home Reform in pushing a bill that would require Kentucky to join 37 other states in setting minimum standards for the number of caregivers in nursing homes.

House Bill 109 would require nursing homes to have one nurse’s aide for every nine residents during the day shift; one aide per 13 residents during the evening shift; and one aide for every 19 at night.   The bill also would increase the number of RNs required to be on duty — currently the law requires only that one RN be on duty for only eight hours a day and that one licensed practical nurse be on duty the rest of the time.

The bill would require one nurse for every 21 residents in the day; one for every 29 on the evening shift; and one for every 42 residents overnight.

Other than requiring that a nurse be on duty, Kentucky law now says only that a “sufficient” number of staff be on hand to care for residents, but it does not define “sufficient.”

The reasonable measure already has encountered opposition from the industry, which has contributed more than $110,000 to lawmakers’ campaigns, according to records from the Kentucky Registry for Election Finance.  The political action committee of the Kentucky Association for Health Care Facilities has donated $114,150 to lawmakers, and many of the recipients were on key committees or in leadership roles.