A new report by Consumer Voice depicts the tremendous gap between the needs of nursing home residents and the actual staffing standards in states throughout the nation. Describing state staffing standards as “severely low,” the report contrasts each state’s staffing standards with research-based standards recommended by medical and healthcare professionals to ensure quality of care. With the exception of the District of Columbia, the report finds state standards for total nursing staff time fall short – often far short – of research-backed recommended staffing standards. And only six states, not including California, require a registered nurse 24/7 at all facilities.
Chronic understaffing has been a serious problem in nursing homes for decades and has been exacerbated by the COVID-19 pandemic. The research is clear that inadequate staffing contributes to lower quality of care and poor health outcomes for residents, yet no federal staffing standard exists. The new report makes a strong case for a federal staffing standard and strengthening of state staffing requirements.