Skip to main content
Resolutions & Amendments

36th International Convention - Anaheim, CA (2004)

Making Nursing Homes Safe for Patients and for Workers

Resolution No. 5
37th International Convention
August 7-11, 2006
Chicago, IL


A comprehensive study conducted by the U.S. Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) and released in March 2002, found that more than 90 percent of nursing homes do not have enough nurses and nursing assistants to provide proper care for patients; and


The National Academy of Sciences' Institute of Medicine has highlighted how nursing homes have become more stressful and hazardous in terms of injuries to workers and that understaffing in nursing homes leads to injuries; and


Nursing aide is the occupation that experienced the second greatest number of serious injuries and illnesses, and nursing aides, orderlies and attendants rank first of all occupations for back and other repetitive strain injuries; and


Among the 20 fastest growing industries in the U.S., nursing homes have the highest illness and injury rate; and


In recognition of the hazardous nature of nursing home work, the U.S. Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) implemented a National Emphasis Program in 2002 to focus increased safety inspections on nursing homes; and


Despite continuing high rates of injury and illness in nursing homes, OSHA, under the Bush Administration, terminated the National Emphasis Program for nursing homes after only one year; and


Despite the compelling conclusions of the CMS study that staffing levels in the vast majority of nursing homes lead to substandard care, the Bush Administration has rejected the call by geriatric experts, consumer advocates and AFSCME for federal staffing standards that will improve patient care and reduce workplace injuries and illnesses.


That AFSCME press the Bush Administration to re-implement the National Emphasis Program in order to increase workplace safety in nursing homes; and


That AFSCME work to advance legislation at the federal and state level to establish staffing standards that ensure that all nursing homes employ sufficient nurses and certified nursing assistants to ensure proper care of nursing home patients and reduce workplace injuries and illnesses.


Henry Nicholas, President and Delegate
Joseph Franklin, Secretary
NUHHCE/AFSCME District 1199