Biden's bold move

The Biden administration has introduced the first-ever staffing requirements for nursing homes, marking the most significant change in nursing home regulations since the 1970s. These proposed standards mandate a minimum of 0.55 hours of care from a registered nurse and 2.45 hours from a nurse aide per resident per day, but do not specify a minimum for licensed practical nurses.

Differing opinions

Health policy experts have varying opinions, with some considering this a good initial step and others deeming it insufficient to address the staffing crisis affecting both residents and predominantly female staff. Adequate staffing has been linked to better patient outcomes, reducing pressure ulcers, urinary tract infections, and fall risks.

Critics argue that the proposed standards fall short, with research suggesting a higher staffing requirement than the proposed 4.1 nursing hours per resident. The evolving complexity of the resident population, including more dementia cases, underscores the need for higher staffing.Despite these criticisms, some experts view the proposed standards as a significant improvement, given the current staffing levels in many facilities. Notably, the requirement for at least one registered nurse to be available on-site at all times has received praise.

Labor groups support the move, while the nursing home industry opposes it, claiming it mandates unattainable staffing levels. Inadequate staffing not only jeopardizes residents' well-being but also burdens nursing home workers.

If approved

The proposed rule is under a comment period. If finalized, it will have a three-year phase-in for non-rural facilities and a five-year phase-in for rural facilities. Approximately 75 percent of U.S. nursing homes will need to hire more staff to meet these new standards.

Unio Editorial Team

The Unio Health Editorial Team is a group of writers, content creators, and thought leaders who are here to empower you to take charge of your health