When considering a nursing home for a loved one, consumers should not only consider overall staffing levels of a home, but they should also consider specific categories of staff available. There are three basic categories of nursing staff:
Registered Nurses (RNs): RNs supervise patients’ care, assess patients and perform specialized procedures.
Licensed Practical Nurses (LPNs): LPNs dispense medications and provide treatments such as basic wound care.
Certified Nurse Assistants (CNAs): CNAs are responsible for “feeding, bathing, dressing, toileting, and transporting the residents.”
According to a 2006 report released by former Attorney General Eliot Spitzer’s Medicaid Fraud Control Unit, “Because each category of nursing staff has its own responsibilities, a shortage of staff in any category may impede the home’s delivery of care.”
Moreover, the report points out that different homes have different types of residents who require various types of care from various staff. “Some [homes] have particularly sick residents who need more care, and others have relatively healthier residents who need less care,” the report points out.
Therefore, when choosing a nursing home for a loved one, consumers should consider their loved one’s needs and whether or not a home is staffed appropriately in a given category.
Website Resource: Staffing Levels in New York Nursing Homes: Important Information for Making Choices