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MU professor serving on panel to improve nursing home care nationwide

COLUMBIA, Mo. (KMIZ)

The pandemic highlighted issues nursing homes nationwide have faced for years, like staffing shortages and inadequate funding and pay, according to a new report.

Marilyn Rantz, a professor at the MU School of Nursing, is one of 17 people serving on the panel that released the report this month.

"I remember as a young child going to a nursing home and the care my grandfather received. Some of the problems inherent in nursing homes have been there since they began," Rantz said.

The panel first met in fall of 2020, and 18 months later they finalized a report.

The National Academies of Sciences, Engineering and Medicine created the panel and tasked it with finding ways to improve care across the country. The panel recently sent the more than 600-page report to Congress with recommendations.

While there are many long-term goals, Rantz said some of the recommendations should be implemented immediately. 

"In order to do things well in a nursing home, you need to have well educated staff adequate numbers of staff, and you need to have them there 24/7 seven days a week," Rantz said.

Rantz said some issues nursing homes face include adequate staff and using evidence-based practice. 

The panel laid out a strategy of seven key priorities:

  • Deliver person-centered, equitable care that promotes autonomy and manages risks.
  • Ensure a well-prepared and appropriately compensated workforce.
  • Increase transparency and accountability of finances and operations.
  • Create a more robust financing system.
  • Design a more effective system of quality assurance.
  • Expand and enhance quality measurement and quality improvement.
  • Adopt health information technology in all nursing homes.

"First, focusing on the care and making it person centered, improving the quality on the staff and and the compensation and benefits of staff, that needs to happen," Rantz said.

Rantz said nursing homes have historically been underfunded by the government. The panel's recommendations will likely require money at the federal and state levels and from nursing homes themselves, which could make nursing homes more expensive for those funded by medicaid.

"You need transparency to know how the money is being shifted, and to make sure it's going in the direction of care and staff," Rantz said.

The panel said transparency matters when it comes to funding, to ensure money is spent properly to improving the quality of care.

The next step for the panel is to implement the report, by reaching out to nursing homes statewide and across the country.

The panel's recommendations can be found here.

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Leila Mitchell

Leila is a Penn State graduate who started with KMIZ in March 2021. She studied journalism and criminal justice in college.

Comments

2 Comments

    1. Hi, do you have anyone in a nursing home? Have you been in many nursing homes? This comment is like me saying I don’t want to pay taxes that have or vote in favor of any that will have a positive effect on education because I don’t have children – essentially not caring about the majority or, really, the future of our country. In addition, the state gets a lot of money in funds from “taxing” nursing homes that *should* also be used for this, not necessarily from individual taxes.

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