BY DR. JUNE ROBINSON and ELOISE ABRAHAMS, NHA, RN
ORLANDO – On August 4, 2023, Congressman Maxwell Frost visited Guardian Care Nursing Care and Rehabilitation Center. He came and toured the facility after speaking with the administrator – Eloise Abrahams. Mrs. Abrahams contacted him about her concern with the recent Federal government proposed Minimum Staffing Mandate for nursing homes this year. Due to the nationwide labor shortage, many nursing homes are struggling to find workers to comply with this mandate. The result is that nursing homes are having to downsize or limit new admissions, seniors must wait longer or widen their search for care, hospitals become overwhelmed with patients who are unable to be discharged, and current nursing staff are stretched thin.
State staffing mandates for nursing homes require a certain ratio of patients per worker, however, Mrs. Abrahams feels that Mandates are not the answer. Of course, the best scenario is that all facilities have an adequate ratio of workers to patients which would ensure the best nursing care for our seniors. However, consideration must be given to the available resources, assuring an adequate pool of qualified applicants and funding to increase wages, making for a more competitive playing field compared to hospitals and other health care agencies.
Mrs. Abrahams also requested Congressman Frost to investigate and support the amendment to improve Access to Medicare Coverage Act of 2021. This act expands benefits to seniors transferring to skilled nursing facilities, and addresses the concerns regarding the Medicare advantage plans that provides Seniors who require Skilled Nursing and Rehabilitation services, the same benefits as traditional Medicare.
Congressman Frost expressed an interest and will be looking further into the concerns discussed affecting our senior population in need of nursing home care,
He toured the facility and saw firsthand the services provided to seniors in the long-term and short-term care sections, as well as the overall cleanliness and organization of the facility. He spent time talking with the seniors and hopes to return to celebrate with one of the seniors on her 103rd birthday. As he toured the facility, he thanked the staff for their commitment and service to the elderly of our community.