As the world turns, I shake my head, yes, this is going to be an “opinion blog”, sorry! If you recall, back in April 2020, CMS issued a waiver that allowed centers to utilize temporary nurse aides. If you also recall, this was in the throws of COVID-19 when staffing was challenged. Hmmmm…..isn’t staffing challenged today as well?
So, in their infinite wisdom, CMS has decided to end the nurse aide certification waiver. The rationale is that survey outcomes reflect “significant concerns with resident care that are unrelated to infection control including abuse, weight-loss, depression, pressure ulcers, etc. I am just wondering, has anyone performed an analysis of outcomes based on certified versus non-certified caregivers? Another concern is that the survey outcomes don’t take into consideration that most centers were in isolation/lockdown during this timeframe. Visitors were not allowed, residents were isolated, and suffered with depression. Did these employees volunteer to be trained and provide care to residents knowing the risks associated with COVID-19? Of course they did, there was no hesitation, provide care for our residents!
At the end of the day, each of us wants quality care and service for all of our residents. I’m just not convinced that eliminating a critical piece of the staffing puzzle right now is the answer, especially while staffing continues to be a huge challenge for us. Mark this date because when you have your next survey you can bet surveyors will be looking closely at your staffing numbers, will they then understand that maybe temporary nurse aides are better than no nurse aides? Time will tell! Stay the course, stay informed, and be well!