Nursing home and hospital patients may be receiving improved care soon thanks to newly proposed legislation in New Jersey. A recent Press of Atlantic City article noted that one of the oversight bills working its way through right now would create lower nursing aide-to-patient ratios in nursing homes to ensure that workers are not stretched as thin and that care facility residents are not suffering from neglect.
This is great news for everyone involved if the bill gets passed, and there does seem to be hoped that it will. A series of similar oversight bills have already gotten through the step of committee approval in the past week. An additional bill making its way through this week requires hospitals to note in the medical records when patients exhibit signs of dementia or confusion, which may help patients to get the correct care sooner and may also assist in making certain that they go to the correct nursing facilities to support their needs.
As for new oversight for lowering ratios in nursing homes, numerous studies have shown that a smaller nursing aide-to-patient ratio results in improved quality of life for the elderly in their care. Recent research has confirmed that having facilities with fewer staff to tend to patients results in a smaller amount of daily care time for each person in the facility. In some cases, this can result in unintentional neglect, especially for elderly who may require more assistance throughout the day.
Employee satisfaction may also improve with more time to attend to residents in the nursing home. A supportive work environment is essential in nursing homes. A recent study published in Safety and Health at Work has found that employee satisfaction actually correlates with resident satisfaction. In other words, happy workers create an environment in which residents can be happy as well. Not only are residents happier, but researchers noted that they also experience fewer injuries from falling, less weight loss, and fewer physical complaints such as ulcers.