Tag Archives: Shirlee Sharkey

How much longer can Ontario dance around nursing home staffing needs?

Ontario has been remarkably resistant to the idea of staffing standards in long-term care.

Staffing is a major determinant of quality in long-term care – something even the most casual observer should understand.

Such standards are not uncommon in other jurisdictions – many have based regulations on a comprehensive U.S. Department of Health and Human Services study that stated a daily minimum of 4.1 hours of total nursing time (including personal support workers) is required to avoid common quality of care problems such as bedsores, weight loss, and loss of bodily functions for long-term care residents. That was in 2002.

There is not general agreement on how nursing home staffing is measured in Ontario, making it difficult to directly compare existing data to this benchmark. However, experts suggest that Ontario is hovering somewhere below three hours of direct care per resident per day based on average acuity.

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