Nursing Home Aides Training Requirements Reduced Amid Pandemic

Posted on behalf of Jeff Pitman on July 21, 2020 in Nursing Homes and Elder Rights
Updated on April 24, 2024

nurse's aide online trainingAs COVID-19 continues to spread across the country, nursing home residents continue to be the most vulnerable and susceptible to this virus. In spite of that reality, the Trump administration took measures to relax training requirements for individuals wishing to become a nurse’s aide.

At PKSD Law, we are dedicated to keeping you informed about important changes that could impact the safety of your loved ones in nursing homes throughout Wisconsin.

If your loved one contracted COVID-19 due to gross negligence on the part of a nursing home caregiver, we are prepared to help you hold that facility accountable for the damages your loved one suffered. Contact our firm to schedule a free, no-obligation consultation to discuss the circumstances that led to your loved one’s COVID-19 illness or other injury due to negligence.

Nurses’ Aides Training Requirements and What Has Changed

The long-time standard of the Service Employees International Union (SEIU) training course includes 75 hours of structured learning, as well as the ability to demonstrate the necessary skill set and specific competencies for managing the care of residents with various levels of needs.

Just as the pandemic hit, the Trump administration made the decision to waive those training requirements. Individuals wishing to train as a nurse’s aide can now achieve completely free certification in just eight hours of online training.

Why This Move May Be Dangerous for Your Loved One

Jesse Martin, vice president of the SEIU in Connecticut, believes this level of training is insufficient for new caregivers. These individuals, with their limited training, will be responsible for the well-being of vulnerable nursing home residents in the middle of a pandemic. Martin says, “Working in nursing homes is complicated. You have PPE, you have infection control procedures. Putting someone brand new into the care setting with Covid is a recipe for disaster.”

Martin further stated, “I have a family member who lives in a nursing home and is Covid-positive, and thank God she’s still alive,” he added. “But I don’t want someone less qualified taking care of her.”

CMS Response to the Reduced Training Requirements

This change has been an industry goal for years because of the ongoing difficulties involved with recruiting and keeping caregiver staff. A spokesperson for the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) states, “CMS still requires that aides must have the competencies to provide nursing and nursing related services.”

It is important to note that just one day after the changes were implemented by the Trump administration, CMS introduced a free online eight-hour training course. This course does not require enrolled students to either watch the course videos or download any of the assignments to complete the program.

Additionally, there is only one timed assessment, and, as demonstrated by a reporter in POLITICO’s news story, anyone can register for the course, search for answers to the assessment online and obtain a nurse’s aide certificate in less than 40 minutes.

Before You Place Your Loved One in a Nursing Home

These new training requirements have been adopted by as many as 19 states in the short time since being implemented. The rapid spread of this deadly virus has caused the death of more than 55,000 nursing home residents and workers across the country. Yet one of these nurses’ aides may end up being your loved one’s primary caregiver.

The new role is now called a “temporary nurse aide” and these individuals, according to a CMS spokesperson, will be required to complete the full 75-hour training course required to obtain full certification as a nursing assistant, but not until the pandemic is over.

Contact a Qualified Attorney For Legal Help Today

What are the qualifications of your loved one’s nurse’s aide or daily caregiver?

Our Wisconsin nursing home abuse lawyers are here to help if you suspect your family member is receiving substandard or negligent care. After speaking with your loved one’s facility administrators to report your concerns, we recommend that you contact our firm for legal assistance. We offer a completely free, no-obligation consultation to discuss your situation and determine your legal options. If we take your case, there is nothing to pay up front, and we do not get paid for our services unless we recover compensation on your behalf.

PKSD Law has representatives available 24/7 to take your call: 414-333-3333

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