Sen. Isadore Hall, III (D-South Bay) has authored Senate Bill 779, which would address understaffing that he said currently places the lives of nursing home residents at risk.
The bill is supported by the SEIU-United Long Term Care Workers (ULTCW) union.
Data from the California Association of Health Facilities (CAHF) indicates that skilled nursing facilities are not meeting the patient-to-staff ratio suggested by a Congressional study on maintaining the highest physical, mental and psychosocial well-being of each resident.
According to CAHF, the average nurse staffing ratio at skilled nursing facilities in California is 3.73 hours of care per resident day.
A Congressional study recommends 4.1 hours of care per resident day.
Such chronic understaffing of positions such as certified nursing assistants (CNAs) creates unsafe, stressful living conditions, Hall said.
“Skilled nursing facilities care for the most important people in the world — our family members and those we love,” Hall added.
“I have seen first-hand that the current staff-to-patient ratio for certified nursing assistants at many skilled nursing facilities is insufficient to ensure the quality of care we expect for our loved ones. The health and safety of patients in a skilled nursing facility must be a top priority and we must do more to ensure better care for them.”
“I am proud to author SB 779 to improve patient care and modernize staffing at skilled nursing facilities to better meet the healthcare needs of patients.”
CNAs are the first responders to the needs of seniors and people with disabilities in skilled nursing facilities.
Because the facilities are understaffed, residents are at risk, according to Hall.
SB 779 would ensure that skilled nursing facilities raise the standard of care for residents and their workers by mandating a staff-to-patient ratio that affords healthier, quality care to residents, and allows CNAs to successfully do their jobs.
“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, president of SEIU-ULTCW.
“SB 779 would change that by holding all facilities accountable to the patient-staff ratios our parents, grandparents and loved ones with disabilities deserve.”
SB 779 was introduced in the Senate Health Committee on April 29.
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