Nursing Home Quality Staffing Bill Receives Bi-Partisan Support, Advances
AB 2079 would mandate adequate staffing to enhance care and reduce staff turnover rates
SACRAMENTO, CA – Assembly Bill (AB) 2079, authored by Majority Leader Ian Calderon (D-Whittier) and sponsored by SEIU Local 2015, would address the subpar care that currently plagues nursing home facilities due to chronic understaffing by requiring nursing homes to increase their direct care provider to patient ratio.
“My job consists of providing quality care to some of our most vulnerable populations – seniors, the disabled, and the infirm – at nursing home facilities, but the current subpar staffing standards don’t allow me to meet the basic needs of residents,” said Jessie Duncan who is a Certified Nursing Assistant (CNA). “It’s time that California takes the initiative in increasing the staffing ratios so that residents can receive the care they need and deserve, and so that care providers, like me, can safely and adequately do the job we love to do.”
CNAs are the first responders to the needs of seniors and people with disabilities in Skilled Nursing Facilities (SNFs). Tasks such as helping someone eat, get bathed, or get turned over in their bed take time and dedication and are critical to preventing malnutrition and bedsores. However, short-staffing prevents CNAs from providing the quality care their patients need and also causes an unsafe environment as caregivers have to rush from patient to patient.
Current staffing requirements for SNFs do not meet the direct care needs of nursing home residents. At 3.7 nursing hours per resident day (hprd), California on average falls far short of the federally recommended 4.1 hprd.
AB 2079 would mandate adequate staffing to enhance care and reduce staff turnover rates. According to a report released today by the Paraprofessional Healthcare Institute, the average turnover rates for nursing assistants exceeded 50 percent in 2012 and are expected to climb.
Having more hands on deck would relieve work stress and injuries as caregivers would have the additional help needed for difficult tasks such as moving patients. Furthermore, it would ensure there are enough caregivers available in a given shift to tend to all residents.
“CNAs are doing the best they can to provide the highest quality care patients require, but the current understaffing at nursing home facilities undermines those efforts,” said Laphonza Butler, Provisional President of SEIU Local 2015. “For many of the parents, grandparents, and loved ones with disabilities, their CNA is the only person they count on to be at their bedside when they need someone the most. AB 2079 would hold all facilities accountable to the patient-staff ratios our loved ones deserve and need.”
AB 2079 passed the Assembly Health Committee today with a 12-6 vote. The bill now moves to Assembly Appropriations Committee.