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AARP Florida ties rise in nursing home hospitalizations to reduced nurse staffing

A chart shows that a rising percentage of short-stay residents in Florida nursing homes were transferred to emergency departments for immediate care in the previous two fiscal years.
AARP
A report by USF researchers says a rising percentage of short-stay residents in Florida nursing homes were transferred to emergency departments for immediate care in the previous two fiscal years.

The Florida Health Care Association counters saying those trends are a function of the post-COVID workforce environment and NOT the result of efforts to "modernize staffing standards."

The AARP in Florida says an increase in hospitalizations shows the dangers of a 2022 law that reduced the staffing requirements for certified nursing assistants in nursing homes.

The nonprofit, which advocates for people 50 and older,released a report Tuesday developed by researchers at the University of South Florida.

"This new report," AARP State Director Jeff Johnson said, "shows that, as the number of qualified hands providing care have declined, hospitalizations have increased, which is a powerful indicator that these new standards are putting frail lives at jeopardy.”

The report says those residents get 30 minutes less of a nurse or nursing assistant's time in the average day compared to two years ago.

Meanwhile, re-hospitalizations increased by 12% among short-term nursing home residents. For long-term residents, unplanned hospitalizations rose by 20 percent in a single year.

In an email, the Florida Health Care Association said those trends are a function of the post-COVID workforce environment at nursing centers -- which have to rely on contract workers -- and NOT the result of efforts to "modernize staffing standards."

"Perhaps instead of producing alarmist reports and reaching conclusions," the FHCA statement said, "AARP should try offering real-world solutions, such as initiatives that will help encourage individuals to seek a career in long term care to help address our workforce shortages."

Joe Byrnes came to WMFE/WMFV from the Ocala Star-Banner and The Gainesville Sun, where he worked as a reporter and editor for several years. Joe graduated from Loyola University in New Orleans and turned to journalism after teaching. He enjoys freshwater fishing and family gatherings.
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