It has been well documented that nursing home staffing ratios and quality of care go hand in hand. According to a recent article from My Elder Advocate, sufficient nursing home staff are needed to ensure that residents have proper nutrition, disease management and that they are turned and repositioned frequently to prevent pressure sores. A 1996 study from the Institute of Medicine found that staffing ratios have a great effect on the nutrition of nursing home residents. Understaffed nursing homes are more likely to have patients who suffer from dehydration, malnutrition and associated conditions.
It is time that nursing home legislation reflect the need for greater staffing. Since the over 65 population will increase by 60% between 2004 and 2030, this is the time to enact such legislation. Nursing home legislation should require ratios to patients in order to ensure that there is sufficient staff to care for our aging population. Unfortunately, nursing home legislation to require ratios has not passed nationally. This is because people argue that this would increase the cost of running a nursing home. Yet, how can you put a price on patient care?
Studies show that raising staffing ratios can cut down on operating costs. It has also been found that understaffing in nursing homes does not help the nursing shortage. Many nurses refuse to work in nursing homes because of the poor working conditions prevalent in understaffed homes. Many nurses have changed professions or gone to part-time due to the poor working conditions. Therefore, new nursing home legislation must be enacted to ensure that there is proper care in all nursing homes, regardless of their monetary position. To read more on nursing home staffing, follow the link.