McKnight’s reported that a new report confirmed what many in the nursing home industry know:  low pay leads to poor quality of care. Low pay and poor benefits for nursing assistants is resulting in a “crisis” of low quality care in nursing homes, according to a report released Tuesday by the Paraprofessional Healthcare Institute (PHI). “As a result of poor-quality nursing assistant jobs, vacancies are growing and turnover is high, undermining the continuity and quality of care for nursing home residents.” the report’s authors wrote.

Nursing assistant jobs are often characterized by poor benefits, high injury rates, erratic scheduling, high turnover, few opportunities for advancement and low pay, the report asserts. Nearly half of nursing assistants live in households below 200% of the federal poverty level, with one in three assistants relying on public benefits.

To remedy the issue, PHI argues that providers need to “raise the floor” for nursing assistants and support staff by paying competitive wages, providing health insurance and creating consistent shifts with full-time hours. The profession’s high turnover rates may also be stemmed with better employee training, support and opportunities for professional growth, the report’s authors added.

The issue could also benefit from legislative action, PHI noted, including minimum wage increases, greater transparency and requirements that a certain percentage of reimbursements be directed to wages for frontline workers.

“To attract and retain nursing assistants, policymakers and employers alike need to envision how these jobs become a family-sustaining career comparable with those in other industries,” the report states.

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