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D. Experts Call for Better Staffing in Nursing Homes

Narrator: This is Science Today. A national study has found nursing homes on average, are too short staffed to provide quality care. Charlene Harrington, a professor of social and behavioral sciences at the University of California, San Francisco, says inadequate staffing causes more resident health problems and even death. Because of this, Harrington asked a panel of experts what kind of minimum standard for staffing should be set.

Harrington: The expert panel decided that we should have four point five hours per resident day of staffing, instead of the current standard which is on average nationally, it's about three point five hours per resident day.

Narrator: Of the one point eight million people in nursing homes, one third are receiving below standard care due to poor staffing.

Harrington: The situation is unacceptable and yet everybody just kind of puts it out of their mind because they don't want to think about it. And everyone thinks, "well, I would never end up in a nursing home." And yet, if you live to be eighty-five, the odds are 45% that you're going to be in a nursing home at some point.

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