June 26, 2024 – The public’s attention to nursing home staffing generally focuses on nurse staff, which makes sense because those are the individuals who are providing direct care to residents. However, non-care staff play an essential role in the quality and safety of a nursing home and the services provided to residents.

These key roles are essential for the well-being of residents.

  • The nursing home administrator is responsible for ensuring that the facility operates safely, efficiently, and in accordance with professional standards.
  • The medical director is responsible for coordinating medical care and ensuring that resident care policies reflect current professional standards of practice.
  • The pharmacist is responsible for reviewing every resident’s medication on at least a monthly basis and reporting any irregularities (such as the inappropriate use of antipsychotic drugs) to the medical director.
  • Therapy staff are necessary for ensuring that both rehab and long-term residents are able to attain and maintain their highest practicable physical functioning.
  • Adequate recreational staff are essential to ensure that residents, especially those with dementia, have a humane quality of life and don’t deteriorate due to lack of meaningful activities and social interactions.

Unfortunately, many nursing homes lack sufficient non-nursing staff to ensure the provision of adequate clinical care and appropriate services for residents.

To address these concerns, LTCCC has conducted research and developed resources for the public and policymakers. Our new brief, All Staff Matter: The Vital Roles of Non-Nursing Staff in Nursing Home Quality and Safety, highlights the important responsibilities and duties of key non-nursing staff. Fact sheets on key non-nursing staff categories can be used to support understanding and resident-centered advocacy by residents, families, LTC ombudsmen and others concerned about the quality and safety of nursing home care. We recommend using these resources in conjunction with the staffing data posted on our website to evaluate the extent to which your nursing home, or those in your community or state, have sufficient non-nursing staff to meet the needs of their residents. This information is crucial for evaluating and advocating for improved non-nursing staffing levels in nursing homes.

The brief, fact sheets, and nursing home staffing data are available at nursinghome411.org/non-nurse-staff and are free to use and share. We thank The New York Community Trust for its generous support of this work.