Nationwide improvement in nursing home care not likely, despite some changes

Nursing home care in America is in crisis and the prospects of nationwide improvement are not high. However, increasing staffing and raising wages of nursing home workers appear to be necessary preconditions to improving quality of care and should receive high priority, according to Joshua Wiener of the Urban Institute.

Despite substantial regulatory oversight, noted Dr. Wiener, "quality of care in nursing homes remains problematic." He added: "Quality of care in nursing facilities remains a major problem for which there are no simple solutions."

Dr. Wiener made this assessment of care in nursing homes in the April 2003 special issue of The Gerontologist that highlights the challenges in nursing home care.

The articles in this special issue address central concerns in nursing home care and help provide answers to questions such as how nursing home care can best be financed and delivered. The guest editors for this special issue are two preeminent scholars in the field aging: Jill Quadagno of Florida State University and Sidney M. Stahl of the National Institute on Aging. The articles in this issue are a result of a conference held at Florida State University and sponsored in part by the National Institute on Aging.

Dr. Quadagno and Dr. Stahl believe that a major challenge at both the national and state levels concerns the effective recruitment, training, and retention of certified nursing aides. Nursing aides, they pointed out, provide about 60 percent of total nursing hours to residents.

The State of Florida, with its high proportion of aged citizens, is often viewed as a natural laboratory for the investigation of trends in aging population. A look at the nursing home problem in Florida might mirror the nursing homes problems in other parts of the country.

According to a group of researchers led by Larry Polivka of the University of South Florida, "The nursing home problem in Florida was characterized as a debate o

Contact: Melanie Radkiewicz
The Gerontological Society of America

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