With regard to the recent Buffalo News writings on patient care and the New York State Safe Staffing for Quality Care Act, staffing must be a top priority.
I have witnessed the importance of safe staffing levels first hand both as a pastor/chaplain and as a patient living with cerebral palsy. While some flexibility may be needed, there is really no way to overcome the problems of under-staffing other than to require minimum safe staffing levels. It’s really quite simple and obvious to anyone who cares to pay attention to anything beyond the bottom line.
Countless times, I’ve seen patients, both myself and others, placed in difficult or worse positions due to a facility being short-staffed. Further, the well-being of valuable, well trained, caregivers is also placed at risk either from burnout or physical injury resulting from trying to do more with less out of compassion and necessity.
Moreover, minimum safe staffing actually provides numerous economic and other benefits apparent when looking further than the immediate. For facilities, less worker burnout or injury equates to less time off and decreased turnover.
For insurance companies, there are decreased patient complications. Patients receive better, more attentive care, and can return to the activities of daily life sooner, better, and more readily. This is only scratching the surface and does not begin to measure the costs of life and death, lawsuits, and more.
Sure, there are always risks but the easiest way to mitigate risks and create better outcomes in health care settings is safe staffing.
Rev. Chris Wylie