The American Association of Nursing Home Administrators (NAHSA) has a lot of responsibility to ensure that the nursing home industry continues to meet the needs of nursing home residents and caretakers.
In the past few years, the NAHSA has done a great job of building upon its existing regulations and creating new standards for nursing homes.
But while the NAO has developed standards for its members, many nursing home operators do not have standards in place to ensure a safe environment for nursing home employees.
For example, a recent investigation by the National Center for Public Policy Research found that a nursing home operator had failed to make the following safety-related changes to its practices: • Ensuring that a safe and effective nursing home environment is maintained • Ensulating that workers are trained to safely perform a variety of tasks that require skill and judgment • Ensuating that a well-trained nursing home staff can respond to situations that may include a threat to safety and/or physical injury to a patient or other members of the community.
The nursing home owner should also follow its own safety guidelines for workers, including ensuring that they are not exposed to drugs, alcohol, or drugs paraphernalia, such as a backpack, or are exposed to fire, smoke, or other hazardous materials.
Nursing home employees, including home health nurses, should also be provided with appropriate protective equipment, such a respirator, hand-held hand-to-mouth respirator or other respirator.
Nursing homes must also maintain proper employee hand-washing facilities and equipment, including a hand-wash dispenser, hand sanitizer, and hand-rubber gloves.
For those workers who have recently returned to work, the nursing homes should make sure that they have access to a workplace health and safety plan.
Nursing care providers should also adhere to the standards outlined in the Nursing Home Occupational Safety and Health Regulations (NHOSRH) and the Occupational Health and Safety Administration (OHSA).
However, the state of Texas has yet to adopt any of these standards for all of its nursing homes, making it difficult to implement the NHAO’s guidelines.
The National Association of State Health Officers (NASOH) has issued several nursing home regulations to assist nursing homes in complying with safety standards.
NASOH’s regulations, which were recently adopted by Texas, provide guidelines for safe care and feeding in nursing homes and provide guidance for the care and supervision of workers in nursing home settings.
NASOH also recommends that nursing home owners adopt a plan for employee safety and training.
NASHO also recommends a plan that nursing homes can implement to reduce the risk of workplace accidents.
NAS HO has a task force to study the safety of nursing homes nationwide.
The NASHO Task Force on Nursing Home Safety and Security has a comprehensive database of safety-based practices in nursing care facilities and is working to develop a national database that can be used by nursing homes to monitor their safety in nursing facilities.
NASHI also is working with the American Nurses Association (ANA) to develop standards for workplace safety in health care settings.
The NHAOA and NASHO are currently working to draft an interim regulation to implement NASHO’s recommendations.
NASH also is looking into the best practices in the nursing industry.
NASHA is working on a draft regulation that would require nursing homes with more than 20 nursing home resident units to implement workplace safety measures that include an employee handwashing program and a safe work environment plan.
The task force has received support from the Texas Association of Home Health Nurses (TAHNH).
The TAHNH also is providing support to NASHO on the issue of safe care.
NASHH is also working with state nursing home boards to create a uniform code of practice for nursing facility workers.
NASHS is also developing a plan to improve nursing home health care worker safety in the state.
NASHE is also collaborating with the Texas Commission on Jail Safety (TCJLS) to establish a registry of nursing facilities and assess the health of residents and their health care workers.
Both NASH and NASHHS are working on developing a code of conduct for nursing care workers, and NASHA has also been working with local and state nursing organizations to establish an industry-wide safety plan to protect the health and welfare of workers and their families.
NASHT is also coordinating a statewide registry of health care facilities.
All of these efforts are a sign of NASHO and NASHS’ commitment to providing the best possible care to nursing home workers and the health care workforce in Texas.
NASHM will be working with all of these stakeholders and with the community to develop an updated plan to ensure the safety and health of nursing facility residents.
It is critical that all of the stakeholders in nursing, as well as those who serve as caregivers and care providers, are held to the same safety standards and practices.
For more information on the safety issues of nursing care, visit NASHHA’s website at www.nhah.org.
The views expressed in this commentary are solely those of the author.