In this Commonwealth Fund–supported study, researchers found that an increase in nurse staffing hours was associated with lower deficiency scores—and thus improved quality of care—in Florida nursing homes. Such findings, when reported on public Web sites, can help families make informed decisions when shopping for long-term care.
- The researchers found a relationship between high nurse staffing levels and low deficiency scores. Every additional hour of certified nursing assistant care per resident day is associated with a 10 percent decrease in the total deficiency score.
- Facilities that staff one hour fewer certified nursing assistants per resident day have a 33 percent increase in quality-of-care deficiencies.
- Every six-minute increase in certified nursing assistant time reduces the quality-of-care deficiency score by 3 percent.
Addressing the Problem
By hiring more nursing staff, nursing home providers can lower their deficiency scores and improve quality. In doing so, they can improve their ability to attract consumers who are exploring long-term care options on the Nursing Home Compare Web site. Likewise, providers participating in certain pay-forperformance demonstrations can benefit financially by increasing nurse staffing and thus reducing deficiencies.
About the Study
The researchers used data from CMS’s Online Survey Certification and Reporting database and from the Florida Nursing Home Staffing Reports, which every facility in the state must self-report to the Florida Agency for Health Care Administration. All freestanding licensed nursing homes in Florida were included in the analysis. The final sample included 663 nursing homes. The study period was 2002 to 2005.
The Bottom Line
By increasing nurse staffing hours, nursing homes may be able to lower their deficiency scores, raise their quality of care, and improve their marketability.