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Nursing assistant workforce facing financial, health challenges
Date:5/14/2009

-home based CNAs. To be eligible to participate in the NNAS, a nursing assistant had to be employed by a nursing home (and not as a contract worker); be certified by the state to provide Medicare/Medicaid reimbursable service; be a speaker of English or Spanish; and be employed more than 16 hours per week.

Slightly more than half (56 percent) reported they were injured on the job at least once in the previous year. Of those who were injured, almost one quarter were unable to work for at least one day as a result.

Approximately 16 percent had no health insurance; 42 percent of that group cited cost as the reason. Years of experience did not translate into higher wages among CNAs. Those with ten or more years of experience averaged just $2 per hour more than aides who started working in the field less than one year ago. The reported median hourly wage was $10.04.

As many as 40 percent of CNAs had at some point in their lives received public benefits (e.g., food stamps, rental subsidies, or Temporary Assistance for Needy Families); almost one third were currently receiving this type of aid at the time of the survey. Additionally, the vast majority of the survey respondents (92 percent) were female.

"These and other forthcoming results will figure prominently in federal and state labor, welfare, and health policy discussions on expanding the pool of workers and on reimbursement policy, regulation policy, and program design," Squillace said. "Ultimately, this will lead to improvements in the quality of life and care of older Americans in U.S. nursing homes."


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Contact: Todd Kluss
tkluss@geron.org
202-587-2839
The Gerontological Society of America
Source:Eurekalert

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