The “frontline” care provider in nursing homes is the nursing staff. That staff is made up of Registered Nurses, Licensed Practical Nurses, and Certified Nursing Aides. The problem is that nursing homes, in an attempt to decrease overhead and increase profits, have too few nurses taking care of too many residents! We often see each nursing aide assigned to 10 or more residents per shift. One person, regardless of how competent and caring, cannot take care of 10 residents with multiple medical problems and in need of assistance with dressing, bathing, eating, etc.
Virginia residents deserve better! But, for whatever reason, Virginia does not require a minimum number of staff to care for its elderly and infirm. Other states do and more are added to the list each year. Take a look at Connecticut – minimum hours of care required per nursing home resident would more than double under a new bill before the state legislature. Under the new plan, nursing facilities must provide 4.2 hours of daily care per resident as of May 2009, up from the current 1.9 hours.
Write your state representative in the General Assembly and tell them more nurses are needed and the only way to get them is to require mandatory minimum staffing!