INCREASE NURSING HOME SOCIAL WORK SERVICES

SOCIAL WORK LEGISLATIVE ALERT

INCREASE NURSING HOME SOCIAL WORK SERVICES

SUPPORT S.B. 1030: AN ACT CONCERNING LONG-TERM CARE FACILITIES

The pandemic hit nursing home residents especially hard. From this experience the CT Legislature has drafted legislation to address problems within nursing homes. The bill includes lowering the bed to social worker ratio that is now at minimum required staffing of 120 beds to 1 social worker! This absurd caseload must be brought down and NASW/CT is calling for a ratio of 60 beds to 1 social worker. The bill is in the state senate and time is running down for the senate to act. Tell your state senator to support having the social worker to bed ratio reduced.

Where the bill stands now: The bill, which addresses a range of nursing home reforms, is going through final drafting in the senate. One of the problems with the bill is that it has a high price tag to Medicaid because it requires a higher level of staffing for nurses, nurses aides, recreation staff and social workers. There is discussion of removing the increased staffing (section 13 of the bill) to reduce the costs. Tell your state senator that social working staffing must remain in the final version of the bill.

The current nursing home staffing ratio of 120 beds to 1 social worker is in public health regulations that have not been updated in over 30 years! NASW/CT first worked on this issue in 2006 and until this year we had no avenue for success. This year is our best chance to support nursing home social work services and provide nursing home residents and their families with the necessary level of psychosocial care and social work services.

HERE IS WHY WE NEED TO KEEP SOCIAL WORK IN THE BILL

  • The social worker is the only personnel in a facility with the primary responsible for meeting the psychosocial needs of residents. In this session where there is broad support for mental health services it is inconceivable to me that an opportunity to address mental health needs of nursing home residents would be missed.
  • The social worker is the point person between the resident’s family and the facility. The pandemic caused great pain to family members who could not see or be with their loved ones. It is the social worker that addressed these issues, kept families informed and found creative ways to connect families to residents. Family needs have broad support amongst legislators.
  • The increase in staffing is a high cost center but the main costs are not for additional social workers. The big ticket item is nursing and nursing aides. Some facilities have sufficient social work staffing. The cost is mostly born by those homes that are at or near the minimum staffing ratio. Keeping social workers in the bill would not be a budget breaker.
  • Recreation staff have a 60 beds to 1 worker ratio. We are asking that social work be given equity by having the same ratio as recreation. Legislators who I have pointed this out to are surprised by the discrepancy between recreation and social work.

ACTION NEEDED NOW

  • Contact your state senator and tell them that S.B. 1030 must include a reduced staffing ratio for nursing home social workers.
  • Use the four points above to support keeping social workers in the bill (copy and paste bullets if you want).
  • If you have a personal experience with a nursing home’s lack of adequate social work coverage tell that to your senator.
  • Share this alert with your networks.
  • If emailing your senator keep a copy. Once it passes the Senate it goes to the House and we will have to repeat this action alert.

To read the chapter’s testimony on the original S.B. 1030 http://naswct.org/testimony/testimony-on-s-b-1030-an-act-concerning-long-term-care-facilities/

Remember to tell your state senator that you are constituent and a social worker. Not sure who your state senator is? Go here https://www.cga.ct.gov/asp/menu/cgafindleg.asp

Comments

  1. Kendra Houle says

    As a social worker in a nursing home of 120 beds, it is challenging to complete the tasks alone. Through the regulatory daily work the ability to provide adequate psychosocial support for residents and their families is not possible. There is a high turn over rate for social workers in nursing homes, increasing the ratio would lower the turn over rate which would help increase the quality of life of the residents. Social workers have the knowledge and education to provide support groups, therapy sessions, and de-escalate problems. As the rules are now, our tool and skill set are not being utilized to their fullest. With the new proposed ratio the ability to use the skills are higher which help overall the care of residents.
    The social worker is the only personnel in a facility with the primary responsible for meeting the psychosocial needs of residents. In this session where there is broad support for mental health services it is inconceivable to me that an opportunity to address mental health needs of nursing home residents would be missed.
    The social worker is the point person between the resident’s family and the facility. The pandemic caused great pain to family members who could not see or be with their loved ones. It is the social worker that addressed these issues, kept families informed and found creative ways to connect families to residents. Family needs have broad support amongst legislators.
    The increase in staffing is a high cost center but the main costs are not for additional social workers. The big ticket item is nursing and nursing aides. Some facilities have sufficient social work staffing. The cost is mostly born by those homes that are at or near the minimum staffing ratio. Keeping social workers in the bill would not be a budget breaker.
    Recreation staff have a 60 beds to 1 worker ratio. We are asking that social work be given equity by having the same ratio as recreation. Legislators who I have pointed this out to are surprised by the discrepancy between recreation and social work.

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