The obvious benefits of safe and sufficient staffing in number and competency is key to quality care. Safe staffing means better quality and better resident outcomes.
The Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services hired Abt Associates to research safe staffing. CMS will mandate staffing next year. Alan White, PhD is the principal at Abt Associates. The study will determine an appropriate nursing staffing level, specifically registered nurses (RNs), licensed practical nurses (LPNs), licensed vocational nurses (LVNs) and certified nursing assistants (CNAs). The nursing categories are essential roles to the skilled nursing care provided at nursing homes
White was a researcher on the landmark nurse staffing study that recommended a 4.1-hour per patient, per day measure in 2001. However, the safe standard was known but not formally mandated. The peer-reviewed methodology and other staffing studies remain the basis for his firm’s latest research. That 2001 staffing study took “eight or nine years,” but this time around investigators are tasked with completing their report in less than 12 months.
“We’re trying to do all this work on a fast timeline,” White said. “This is research that is needed quickly.”
Toby Edelman is a well-respected attorney with the Center for Medicare Advocacy. He noted the industry’s history of unsafe staffing.
“Most facilities do not have enough staff. This problem is not new. Care will not improve until all facilities have enough well-trained staff. Facilities also need to pay them well, pay them appropriate benefits and treat them well… . No more excuses and no more delay. We don’t want to have another study 20 years from now.”
The study will include four parts: a literature review, nursing home site visits, quantitative analyses and cost analyses.