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Did You Know?
Right to Staffing Information


A common concern of family members and residents of nursing homes is the lack of staffing. The endemic shortage of staff places residents in danger by denying them the care they need and deserve. Facilities are required to have a minimum of 3.2 hours of nursing care per resident per day (H&S §1276.5), but we know many facilities do not meet this minimum requirement. In fact, in 2004, the California Office of Attorney General reported that more than two of every three nursing homes it inspected violated this standard.

Since January 1, 2003, skilled nursing facilities have been required to post nursing staff information on a daily basis before each shift (42 CFR §483.30 (e) (1)-(4), H&S §1276.65 (f)). Staffing information must be presented in a "clear and readable format," and posted in a prominent place available to visitors and residents. This information must include the resident census as well as the total number and the actual hours worked by registered nurses, licensed vocational nurses, and certified nurse aides responsible for direct resident care. Unfortunately, there is no requirement to post the actual names of staff on duty. Facilities are required to make this staffing data available for review by the public upon request at a cost not to exceed the community standard, and they must save the information for a minimum of 18 months.

This information is an important tool for family members, resident and family councils to use in monitoring facilities compliance with state staffing laws. If you suspect a facility is not meeting their required staffing level, ask for a copy of the nursing hours for each day that week. You can then calculate the number of hours per resident per day. If you do not believe the facility is in compliance, file a complaint with the DHS Licensing and Certification Division.

For information on how to file a complaint click here. Send a copy of your complaint to CANHR, your ombudsman, and your state Senator and Assembly Member.