SaukValley had an interesting article on nursing home staffing.  In a nursing home, the CNAs have the most hands-on interaction with residents, yet they’re the lowest-paid medical staffers.  Depending on their level of experience, education and the shift they work, starting pay for a CNA in the Sauk Valley ranges from only $8.75 to $10.50 an hour, according to interviews with nursing home administrators.  Despite their low pay, CNAs are vitally important to resident care and the quality of life.

“Being a CNA, it’s the backbone of the industry,” said Bonnie O’Connell, administrator at Heritage Square in Dixon. “They’re highly regarded in this facility. And it’s the hardest job here, being a CNA. … It’s a high rate of burn out.  But a lot of that – their jobs – can be made easier by the support staff, by the activities, involvement. Support staff can really make their jobs a lot lighter.”

Because people now live in their own homes longer, incoming nursing home residents require a higher level of care, so the nursing done by a CNA or LPN goes beyond simply giving medication at the right time.  Having more registered nurses, who are better versed in the “global understanding” of residents’ needs, leads to better care – and not just physical care, but mental and emotional.

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