Nursing home abuse has long been linked to understaffing and high turnover rates. Because many nursing homes underpay and overwork their staff, employees may not be able or willing to give residents the care they deserve. In the past, it has been difficult to find accurate data about turnover rates and staffing issues.
The Department of Health and Human Services’ Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services issued a new memorandum about nursing home data reporting. In January 2022, the CMS announced that they will begin posting new data about every nursing home. First, they’ll report the percent of nursing staff and administrators who stopped working at each nursing home over a 12-month period. Second, they now provide weekend staffing rates on a quarterly basis.
This is excellent news for anyone researching nursing homes. Here’s a brief overview of how this data will help consumers make better choices.
When searching for a reliable, safe nursing home, turnover rates can provide insight in several ways. Homes with low turnover generally correlate with five-star ratings and higher overall quality. This may be because the longer nurses and administrators stay, the more familiar they are with the home’s policies and procedures. This allows them to provide more effective care to each resident.
Low turnover can also indicate that when staff stays longer, they’re more likely to become familiar with each resident. This allows nurses to notice changes in condition sooner, and take precautions to prevent adverse health events. Finally, low turnover may indicate better leadership, which enables staff to do their jobs efficiently.
Weekend nurse staffing is also a concern. Many consumers do not realize that a nursing home’s staffing levels can vary significantly day-to-day. If you only tour homes on weekdays, you might be under a false impression that the weekends have the same staffing level.
Reporting weekend staffing levels allows consumers to compare similarly rated homes. The CMS will also report the average number of nursing staff hours worked each day. If a nursing home has significantly lower staffing levels on the weekends, consider researching and touring other homes. The more skilled staff available, the more likely you or your loved one will receive appropriate care.
Choosing a nursing home is a daunting prospect. Even the most careful research may not reveal whether a particular home is safe. If you suspect that you or a loved one are a victim of nursing home abuse, help is available. Call Nager, Romaine, & Schneiberg Co. L.P.A. today.