Tuesday, September 1, 2015

Legislation Will Improve Oversight & Care in NJ Nursing Homes

By Paul Nichols

Assembly Democrats Angelica Jimenez, Joseph Lagana and Raj Mukherji have proposed legislation to improve oversight and the quality of care for the elderly in New Jersey nursing homes.

The bill (A-4636) would establish minimum certified nursing assistant-to-resident ratios for nursing homes.

"Hopefully these new standards will improve the level of service provided to nursing home residents in New Jersey," said Jimenez (D-Bergen/Passaic). "In turn, this will hopefully provide greater peace of mind for both residents and their loved ones."

Under current regulations, the Department of Health requires nursing homes to meet a minimum number of hours of direct care staff-to-resident time per day.

"Mandating specific certified nursing assistant-to-resident ratios will create more precise, enforceable standards," said Lagana. "Ultimately, this will raise the bar for the standard of care throughout nursing homes in New Jersey."

Under the bill, certified nursing assistant-to-resident ratios will be as follows:

1) one certified nursing assistant for every six residents on the day shift;
2) one certified nursing assistant for every nine residents on the evening shift; and
3) one certified nursing assistant for every 14 residents on the night shift.

"Seniors and their loved ones deserve the comfort of knowing that there is a sufficient level of staff to tend to their needs," said Mukherji (D-Hudson). "Hopefully this will minimize the chance for neglect and improve the overall quality of life for aging residents."

The bill also sets forth a methodology for computing the appropriate ratio, and provides that a nursing home that experiences an increase in resident census is exempt from increasing the number of certified nursing assistants for nine consecutive shifts.

Nothing in the bill would affect any other minimum staffing requirements as may be mandated by the Commissioner of Health for nursing home staff other than certified nursing assistants, and nothing in the bill would prohibit a nursing home from establishing staffing levels above the established minimum.

The legislation has been referred to the Assembly Human Services Committee.

Full Article & Source:
Legislation Will Improve Oversight & Care in NJ Nursing Homes


tvfields said...

Sounds like this legislation ignores the fact that some nursing home residents need much more attention than others. Without addressing this fact, there will be times when the nursing home is understaffed despite meeting mandated staffing ratios. To address this fact, residents need to be assigned a numerical value reflecting their level of need (ex, 1-to-10, with 10 being assigned to patients with the greatest need); the number of CNAs, LPNs and RNs should be set by the average numerical value of all residents in a particular wing of the facility. This way residents needing more attention will get it.

Nancy said...

I am glad to see attention on nursing homes.