Federal Study: Quality of Nursing Home Care Directly Linked to Staffing Levels

A study released by the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) in 2000 and 2002 showed a direct link between staffing levels and the quality of care nursing homes delivered.

According to the research, quality of care declined once certain staffing thresholds were not met. The study concluded the following:

• Registered Nurses (RNs) must spend a total of 45 minutes per resident per day.
• RNs and Licensed Practical Nurses (LPNs) must spend at least 1.3 hours per resident per day.
• Nurses aides (CNAs) must spend 2.8 hours per resident per day.

The study states, “The analysis showed that quality of care…suffers seriously when the ratio of staff to patient drops below certain levels. For example, of the facilities that provided an average of at least two hours of daily nurse aide care per resident, only 2% had a high rate of avoidable hospitalizations, and 12% had a significant rate of new pressure sores. Of the facilities that provided an average of less than two hours of daily care by nurse aides, 22% had a high rate of avoidable hospitalizations, and 46% had a high rate of pressure sores.”

The CMS study was the largest of its kind ever conducted.

Staffing Levels in New York Nursing Homes: Important Information for Making Choices

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