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B. Questioning the Accountability of Nursing Homes for Poor Staffing

Narrator: This is Science Today. Nursing home residents in this country receive, on average, a total of three and a half-hours of care per day. And that's not enough, according to a report co-authored by University of California, San Francisco researchers. Charlene Harrington, a professor of social and behavioral sciences, helped conduct a nationwide survey of an expert panel on nursing home care, which recommended better staffing.

Harrington: Some studies have shown if you have more staff, especially RN staff, you have fewer deaths. And we found that facilities have fewer deficiencies when the survey and inspections are done.

Narrator: Harrington says poor staffing is not necessarily due to a lack of funding.

Harrington: There's the issue about are the nursing homes really being accountable and are they really spending the money on what they're supposed to be spending the money on. Only thirty-six percent of every dollar in a nursing home goes to the staff that are giving the direct care, so there's twenty-seven percent going off in administrative cost.

Narrator: For Science Today, I'm Larissa Branin.