SACRAMENTO, Calif. /California Newswire/ — For nearly two decades nursing home workers have taken care of patients with inadequate care standards that put the elderly and those with disabilities at risk of injuries, falls, or insufficient supervision. Today, Governor Jerry Brown changed that by allocating monies in the final budget that would allow for the implementation of safer staffing standards for better care and working conditions in nursing homes. The decision comes after years of negotiations between SEIU 2015 nursing home workers and state leaders.

We Care LA campaign march
What this means for California:
California is now one of top 5 states in the country with the highest direct care standards for nursing home patients; Nearly 1,400 new CNA jobs will be created; All California nursing home facilities will be required to meet the new standard by July 2018.

This step forward is a beacon of hope as this cloud of political uncertainty from Washington D.C. hangs over our state,” said Provisional President of SEIU 2015, Laphonza Butler. “For their recipients, caregivers are patient, hard-working, and resilient. And thanks to their hard work, California can once again rightfully say that in our state, we advance the quality of care for our most vulnerable. Seniors, people with disabilities, and their caregivers, can breathe a sigh of relief because care in nursing homes will get better, and workload easier to manage.”

Currently, California only requires nursing facilities to ensure each patient gets at least 3.2 hours of care per day, also known as nursing hours per patient day (NHPPD); a number that hasn’t changed for almost 20 years. Caregivers and care recipients alike argued it did not allow enough time or staff to be available to tend to patients’ needs. Needs that include bathing and grooming, feeding, and treating wounds. It was imperative that California update its standard as more than 800 new residents a year are expected to enter nursing homes.

The new standard approved by Governor Brown raises the floor from 3.2 NHPPD to 3.5 NHPPD, while also requiring that at least 2.4 NHPPD are fulfilled by Certified Nursing Assistants. This updated standard places California as one of top 5 states in the country with the highest direct care standards for nursing home patients.

“It has been a long-fought battle but we did it,” said Lorrie Dubois, CNA at Kit Carson Nursing and Rehabilitation. “Everyone deserves quality care and attention, and by having more direct care staff on hand like CNAs, workers will finally be able to do a little more for their patients without running from one person to the other, injuring themselves or their patients.”

The improved care standards will go into effect on July 1, 2018.

To stay up to date on the “Caregivers Count” campaign efforts, supporters can visit, text “CARECOUNTS” to 97779.

Available Media:

Audio from Jessie Sutton, CNA, The Pines of Placerville, Placerville, CA

2 new staff will be added to facility

I cried when i heard about this victory because I’ve been fighting for so long

The waiting time for patients to receive care will cut down a lot

There won’t be so many worker injuries because there will be more staff on hand

Audio from Lorrie Dubois, CNA, Kit Carson Nursing and Rehabilitation, Jackson, CA

9 new staff will be added to facility

More quality care to patients, we won’t be as rushed anymore when caring for patients

I fought to change not just my life, but residents and caregivers across the state

Video from Caregivers Count rally