Raise the Bar on Resident Care has today released a new report, Crossroads of Care, Repairing Rhode Island’s Nursing Homes in the Wake of COVID-19, that examines the impact of short staffing on Rhode Island’s nursing home caregivers and residents during and prior to the pandemic and underscores the urgency of passing the The Nursing Home Staffing and Quality Care Act (S0002, H5012) immediately.
Key findings of the report include:
- Over 1,300 Rhode Island nursing home residents have lost their lives to COVID-19, with Rhode Island ranking second in the nation for COVID-19-related nursing home deaths.
- Multiple studies now show the impact of short staffing on COVID-19 infection and deaths including one from California where researchers found COVID-19 case rates were significantly higher in nursing homes with staffing levels below those recommended for nurses and total staff (4.1 hours per resident day)
- Recent research finds that three-fourths of the nation’s nursing homes failed to meet federal staffing expectations for registered nurse staffing prior to the pandemic.
- Rhode Island ranked 41st in the country (Q2 of 2020 CMS) data for the average number of hours nursing home residents receive and last in New England.
- The starting wage for Rhode Island nursing assistants is just $12.34 or $23,693 a year. This wage falls far short of the estimated annual pre-tax earnings of $66,057 required to meet the basic needs of a single parent family in Rhode Island.
- Rhode Island is one of the states with the highest proportion of people over 85, and highest in New England. The percentage of adults aged 60 and over will increase significantly over the next ten years. We must solve the staffing crisis now.
The Nursing Home Staffing and Quality Care Act (S0002, H5012) will alleviate the staffing crisis by setting a minimum staffing standard of 4.1 hours of care per resident day while creating a living wage for caregivers and needed training opportunities. These policies in the legislation are critical to stemming the tide of caregivers leaving the industry and protecting our state’s most vulnerable citizens against the next public health crisis. (The Senate version of the Act was passed on February 2 and now sits in the House Finance Committee with the House bill. There has been no movement on the House bill.)
Advocates from Raise the Bar on Resident Care launched the campaign to achieve safe staffing and quality resident care in nursing homes in July of 2019. The Raise the Bar Coalition includes the following partners: Senior Agenda Coalition of RI, District 1199 SEIU, RI Organizing Project, Sista Fire, RI Interfaith Coalition to Reduce Poverty, Women’s Fund, Newport Partnership for Families, Fuerza Laboral, Protect our Healthcare Coalition, R.A.M.P (Real Access Motivates Progress), Economic Progress Institute, RI AFL-CIO, and RI Coalition Against Domestic Violence.
- As General Assembly convenes, nursing home workers rally for safe staffing and fair wages
- Nursing home resident and caregiver COVID-19 deaths surpassed 1,000 this week
- Caregivers, family and community members hold memorial service for nursing home victims of Covid
- Demand an end to the lethal status quo in nursing homes
- Raise the Bar calls on RI nursing home industry to invest its millions in profit in frontline caregivers and residents amid pandemic
- Aletha Browne on the lack of pay, staffing and PPE she endures as a CNA during the COVID-19 pandemic
- Hundreds rally at State House to support The Nursing Home Staffing and Quality Care Act
- New report details intensifying staffing crisis in Rhode Island nursing homes