Safe Staffing Legacy

Serious health risks were commonplace in Florida nursing homes until 1199SEIU Florida and others passed a landmark safe staffing law in 2001 with bipartisan support greatly improving care in our state.

Later, in 2007, required minimum staffing levels for certified nursing assistants were increased to 2.9 hours of bedside care per resident per day, with bipartisan support.

According to a February 2009 University of South Florida study, “quality of care has substantially improved in Florida nursing homes since the introduction of increased nurse staffing levels and other quality standards since 2001.” The study also noted that “a recent review of the studies linking staffing and quality confirms that the strongest research suggests poor quality of care is linked to inadequate staffing levels.”

When safe staffing at 2.9 hours of care was instituted, it was merely a minimum level of care recommended by independent experts, and yet over the last few years the legislature has continually reduced this standard.

During the 2011 legislative session in Tallahassee, the Florida Legislature and Governor Rick Scott reduced safe staffing levels from 2.9 hours of bedside care per resident per day by certified nursing assistants to 2.5 hours per day. As a result, the minimum time caregivers spend at the bedside of nursing home residents was cut by 18 minutes per day.

The Every Minute Counts campaign has united Floridians from across the state who are calling for the restoration of safe staffing and bedside care in nursing homes. Just one minute could mean the difference between life or death. We know that Every Minute Counts.

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