The Department of Health said Pennsylvania´s nursing home residents could soon receive at least four hours of care. Currently, skilled nursing facilities must provide at least 2.7 hours of care per resident.
As reported by thecentersquare.com, the proposed regulation comes more than 20 years after the federal Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services said four hours was “the minimum” level of care needed to prevent bed sores, malnutrition, dehydration and other ailments common in nursing homes.
“It not only aligns with best practices and existing research, but it prioritizes residents’ well-being,” acting Secretary of Health Alison Beam said. “This is an especially necessary approach after the tumultuous and trying year and a half of the COVID-19 pandemic.”
Beam said just 18% of the state’s 692 licensed skilled nursing homes offer this level of care. An additional 134 provide between 3.5 hours and 4 hours of care, and 334 provide between 3 hours and 3.5 hours.
During a news conference Wednesday, Beam said the revision means an important impulse for improving resident´s life quality. “Revising nursing home regulations is one piece of the administration’s ongoing effort to improve care for residents and working conditions for staff in nursing homes.”
Improving living conditions
In addition, Beam said the proposal is only the first of five forthcoming regulations designed to improve working and living conditions in the state’s nursing homes. She is expecting the regulatory process would conclude next year.
“For many years, residents and long-term care ombudsmen have recognized and reported what more than 100 national studies and reports have shown, that the current minimum staffing requirement in Pennsylvania falls short of meeting the needs for quality of care and quality of life,” said Department of Aging Secretary Robert Torres.
“As Pennsylvania’s senior population continues to increase, these overdue updates will help ensure that skilled nursing facilities provide residents with high-quality care now and in the future.”