Report: Nursing Home Understaffing Persists in Q1 2021


A new report finds that the majority of US nursing homes fell short of minimum staffing levels in the first three months of 2021.

The majority of nursing homes in the United States failed to meet minimum care staff thresholds in the first quarter of 2021, according to an analysis by the Long Term Community Care Coalition. A federal study published in 2001 established that minimum threshold as 4.10 total care staff hours per resident day (HRPD) and 0.75 registered nurse HRPD. The LTCCC found that 63% of nursing homes did not meet this threshold.

Data provided by nursing homes in accordance with reporting requirements showed that “nursing homes averaged 3.92 Total Nurse Staff hours per resident day,” according to the LTCCC, and an average of 0.69 RN HRPD. If you remove administrative staff and directors of nursing from the figures, the LTCCC found, the percentage of nursing homes that met the minimum threshold of 4.10 HRPD falls to 27%, or a little over one in four nursing homes.

Despite the low care staff levels, the LTCCC found, nursing home resident censuses increased by about 3% in the first quarter of 2021, reaching a total of approximately 1.10 million residents. In the previous quarter, this number had fallen from 1.11 million to 1.06 million. As the LTCCC notes, however, the rising nursing home populations combined with the inadequate staffing levels may be a cause for concern, given research that indicates facilities with “higher staffing levels are better equipped to meet their residents’ care needs.” In the absence of adequate staffing levels, nursing homes can suffer neglect, “poor quality of care,” and other adverse consequences.

Data compiled by the LTCC shows that in the first quarter of 2021, New York’s nursing homes had an average daily census of 86,862, a total nurse HRPD of 3.66, and an RN HRPD of 0.69. This puts New York 0.26 HRPD below the total national average of 3.92 total nursing staff HRPD and 0.44 HRPD below the minimum threshold of 4.10 HRPD.

More information on the Long Term Community Care Coalition’s findings about nursing home understaffing is available via the LTCCC.

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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