Data Shows Low Nursing Home Staffing Levels in Q4 2020

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New data reveals that US nursing homes were understaffed during the height of the pandemic this past winter.

Last week the Long Term Community Care Coalition published fourth-quarter 2020 staffing data for every nursing home in the United States. Noting that staffing levels in nursing homes “have played a critical role in determining the health outcomes of nursing home residents during the COVID-19 pandemic,” the LTCCC argues that nursing homes with adequate staffing levels are better positioned to mitigate transmission of Covid-19, treat residents with the disease, and prevent the pandemic’s psychological side effects with a level of resident care that helps stave off isolation.

Unfortunately, according to the LTCCC, data collected by the federal government indicates that 75% of nursing homes in the US “failed to meet the minimum staffing threshold” of 4.10 total care staff hours per resident day, with a nationwide average of “3.47 total care staff HPRD and 0.47 RN HPRD in the quarter (Oct. 1 through Dec. 31) during the height of the pandemic.”

As the LTCCC’s staffing report shows, only 22% of nursing homes in the country met the minimum staffing threshold; total care staff hours per resident day “increased only slightly from the previous quarter (3.43) despite a drastic resident population decline” during the pandemic; that increase resulted from the population decline, not increasing staff hours; there was a decline in total care staff hours per resident day on weekends and holidays, reaching a low of 3.17 on Christmas; and that “Nationwide, the daily average facility resident census fell 4.8% from Oct. 1 (75.8) to Dec. 31 (72.2).”

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Federal data indicates that three out of four nursing homes “failed to meet the minimum staffing threshold” of 4.10 total care staff hours per resident day.

The LTCCC also provides a state-level breakdown of staffing data in the United States. The data shows that in New York, for instance, that in Q4 2020, nursing homes had an average census of 145.03; average total care staff hours per resident day of 3.45; a total care rank of 32; and an average registered nurse care staff hours per day of 0.42.

For more information on nursing home staffing levels during the fourth quarter of 2020, including the state-by-state breakdown, visit the Long Term Community Care Coalition’s website.

The attorneys at the Law Offices of Thomas L. Gallivan, PLLC work diligently to protect the rights of nursing home residents.  Please contact us to discuss in the event you have a potential case involving neglect or abuse.

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