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‘Strong evidence’ more immigrant caregivers improve nursing home quality: researchers

Health and Immigration

Magazine, Living Well, JESSICA R. TOWHEY

Better federal policies to increase the number of immigrants working in nursing homes could help providers get over the hump in meeting expected new staffing requirements, new research shows.

But investigators also cautioned against allowing an influx of immigrants to unintentionally harm the odds of hiring nurses with more education and higher skills. They warned against facilities potentially substituting “low-skilled certified nursing assistants (CNAs) for higher-skilled registered nurses (RNs) and licensed practical nurses (LPNs).”

More nursing employees in the long-term care sector nonetheless would ultimately prove positive, they added, echoing recent calls from Senators and nursing home advocacy groups to embrace commonsense reforms.

“Increases in the immigration population result in improved nursing home direct care staffing levels, particularly among full-time staff, with little impact on industry wages or the skill mix of direct care staff,” wrote study authors David Grabowski of Harvard University, Brian McGarry of the University of Rochester, and Jonathan Gruber of MIT.

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