Today, I’ve been wandering around internet land, looking into nursing stuff. This was one of my finds: a nurse driven “safe staffing” bill that’s been introduced in the Senate. While it seems primarily focused on RNs and hospitals, I’m really praying it passes…because it might open doors to laws limiting CNAs patient care load down to reasonable limits.
This site argues that a ratio of 5-6:1 or under is best for optimum patient care. Personally, I think we might have better luck trying to get an 8:1 or even a 10:1 ratio law passed. I’d like to only have 5 residents…but when I consider that there are aides out there taking care of as many as 25 residents…yeah. Having 8 or 10 as a standard sounds good to me!
I am so lucky. I have only ever worked in nonprofit nursing homes that try to maintain a 8-12:1 ratio. This didn’t happen by accident; when I was looking for a job, I called local nursing homes and I asked them two questions: what is your base pay and what is your typical resident to aide ratio (on the shift I was looking to work). If I didn’t like what I heard, I didn’t apply at that nursing home. I also repeated this question several times, to make sure I was getting an accurate answer. I asked if the nursing home counted nurses, hydration aides, and activity aides as aides in that ratio; I made it pretty clear that I was asking about floor CNAs only.
I was picky. I was willing to forfeit higher pay for having fewer residents. Not everyone can or will be this picky.
After four years in health care, I’ve come to the conclusion that we need a national standard. In our current “money first” corporate world, we apparently need to make something that should be common sense into a law. So here’s to that bill passing and paving the way for more like it!