Caregivers Count: Safe Nursing Home Staffing (AB 2079)
“Without enough hours for staff, residents are receiving lower quality care. There are times when several patients have their call lights on and due to lack of staff, I must prioritize which resident to tend to first.” – Karen, Certified Nurse Assistant
Nursing home workers provide some of the most important services in the entire healthcare system. They comfort our elderly and disabled friends and relatives and keep them safe. But low standards and lax enforcement are jeopardizing the health and wellbeing of these patients.
Fortunately, a new bill—AB 2079—would go a long way toward fixing these problems. But first we have to make sure it passes. (More on that below.)
Skilled Nursing Facilities (SNFs), licensed through the California Department of Public Health, provide skilled nursing and supportive care to over 100,000 residents who are seniors, people with disabilities and people recovering from illness or injury in California. Certified Nursing Assistants (CNAs) are the primary caregivers in these facilities, providing twenty-four hour care seven days a week. They do everything from post-surgical care to diabetic management.
Here’s the problem: Short-staffing puts residents and workers at risk
CNAs work themselves to the bone to provide essential 24/7 care, but current staff requirements for SNFs simply do not meet the needs of nursing home residents. California’s minimum standard of 3.2 hours of care per resident per day hasn’t been re-evaluated since 1999. And we fall far short of the federal recommendation of 4.1 nursing hours per resident day.
The result is chronic understaffing, which creates potentially unsafe living conditions for residents. Without enough CNAs to serve patients, these individuals are placed at risk of unnecessary falls, illness and injury.
Our solution: More hours and a strong, transparent standard
SEIU Local 2015 is fighting alongside nursing home workers to raise professional standards and put patients first. At a minimum, California needs to meet the federally recommended standard. And we need real enforcement. Without clear staffing ratios for direct caregivers, it’s far too easy for nursing homes to manipulate the numbers in order to pass inspection.
AB 2079 solves these problems by requiring SNFs to publicly post, at all times, the number of direct caregivers on duty. It also ensures a minimum number of hours of care provided by CNAs by instituting staff-to-patient ratios.
Here’s how you can help:
Whether you show up in person or make a call, we need you to tell lawmakers to support the CNAs taking care of our most vulnerable Californians. Our elderly and disabled patients shouldn’t have to wait in line when they call for help. AB 2079 is the solution we need and with your help on these key dates, we can push AB 2079 across the line.
You can also
- Sign the Petition
- Contact & Tweet at your State Senator
- Share more about why this bill matters to caregivers and care recipients: Share the video
- Follow the Conversation #caregiverscount, #ab2079, @seiu2015
- Watch the following videos:
News on the Bill: