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Will New Jersey Set Minimum Standards for Staffing Nursing Homes?

There are currently no regulations for the amount of nurses’ aides required on duty in a nursing home at any given time. This means that New Jersey nursing homes can be understaffed without breaking any rules; a problem that often times leads to nursing home negligence cases.

New Jersey Democrats are now pushing for a bill that will set a new standard for nursing homes. The bill, which passed in the state Senate in December, will require at least one certified nursing assistant be on staff for every eight residents during a day shift. The night shift will require one nursing assistant per every ten residents, and the overnight shift will require one for every sixteen residents in a nursing home.

The purpose of the bill is to ensure that a minimum standard is set to allow nurses’ aides proper time to care for their residents’ needs. During the committee hearings for the bill, many aides testified to the fact that they’re not afforded enough time to fully care for all their patients. Meals and daily rituals are “rushed.”

The testimony of one woman, who worked an overnight shift, told of having only six nurse’s aides to care for over 100 patients. When this staffing number was reduced to just four, the aides became responsible for caring for 26 or 27 patients each night.

While New Jersey nursing homes typically meet the 2.5 hours of individual care that patients are required to receive each day, the state ranks at a shockingly low 49 out of 50 on a national AARP survey for preventing bedsores, which is a very serious issue of nursing home neglect.

As one would expect, many nursing home operators testified against the proposed bill. The new regulations required by the bill would cost the nursing home industry as much as $67 million to hire up to 2,000 new aides.

Sadly, nursing homes too often put profit before people, resulting in devastating injuries or wrongful death. Ranking 49 out of 50 is a serious issue for the state of New Jersey; one we are on a mission to fix.

 

Source: Colleen Diskin, “N.J. Legislators look to set minimum standard for nursing home staffing,” NorthJersey.com