Safe Staffing in 2024

Let’s hope for safe staffing in 2024. Happy New Year!

Richard J. Mollot is executive director of the Long-Term Care Community Coalition. He recently said staffing problems have been created by the industry itself.

The industry has been saying for years that they don’t have enough funding to hire staff,” Mollot said, adding that “sophisticated” owners in private equity and real estate investment trusts are purchasing facilities. “Why would they be buying into the sector if it was a money loser? There’s a lot of money being made … it’s just not going into care.

CMS should clarify the minimum standard to 4.1 hours per resident day. That level was recommended 20 years ago by two year CMS study that was never acted on.  Research posted by the Biden administration shows higher staffing levels are linked to better nursing home care.

The minimum number of hours to 4.1 total nursing hours per resident day would include 0.75 hours of RN coverage, 0.55 hours of LVN coverage, and 2.8 hours of CNA coverage. That is the safest minimum. Most facilities should have more staffing.

The need for safe staffing is because the increase in acuity is complicated by the fact that residents who would normally go to a nursing home with lesser needs are now foregoing services. The desire to stay at home and avoid institutional care has led to a growing trend of residents delaying services too, leading to a need for more complex care when conditions worsen upon entry into long-term care.