The Patriot Ledger reported on the need to increase staffing and pay to caregivers at nursing homes.  Better care for residents of nursing homes will require better pay and working conditions for the key workers: the nurse aides. The single factor most critical to high quality of care and quality of life for nursing home residents is the staff who provide residents with care, the Center for Medicare Advocacy states. The group says that most direct care in nursing facilities is provided by nurse aides, primarily women of color, who are poorly paid and often poorly treated.

And in a sobering new report, Raise the Floor: Quality Nursing Home Care Depends on Quality Jobs,[1] the Paraprofessional Healthcare Institute (PHI)[2] describes the growing care crisis in nursing facilities. Fewer people are available and willing to take direct care positions while a rapidly aging population needs care. Nurse aides earn “near-poverty wages.” Nationwide, the median wage is $11.51 per hour, an annual salary of $19,000. The Center for Medicare Advocacy has a discussion of the report.

You can also read another thoughtful report on this issue in Massachusetts from the Massachusetts Senior Care, which represents more than 500 facilities and organizations. Quality Jobs for Quality Care was issued by Mass Senior Care in November 2015. It also makes the case for “a path to a living wage for nursing home workers.”

It states that “certified nurse aides (CNAs) have seen a mere 4% cumulative increase in actual wages over the last seven years and a 6% decline in real wages for this 2008-2015 period.

 

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