Nursing Home Staffing Levels


Registered User
Jul 31, 2007
Hi, sorry I have not been here for a while.

Could anyone give me any advice on what the staffing to resident ratio should be ? My mum is in a EMI residential Care Home. Should this depend on the individual needs of residents or just the number of residents ?

Or could you point me in the direction of the government guidelines.

Hoping you can help.



Registered User
Aug 29, 2006
SW Scotland
That's a useful link, Maggie, even though it doesn't give any figures.

I actually don't think there are any definite legal requirements, we've had this question before.

Lotti, as your mum's home is classed as residential, the requirements will be lower than if it was nursing or EMI.

The home John's in has three sections, residential, nursing and EMI. Each section has a registered nurse on duty at all times, RMN for the EMI unit.

Apart from that, the ratio in residential is 1/6, and 1/4 in nursing and EMI. I think this is fairly general, the increased fees for nursing and EMI reflect the better ratio.

Is there a separate section for EMI in your mum's home, or do they only cater for early stages?

The bit in Maggie's link about training is important, 50% of carers should have NVQ level 2 at least.


Registered User
Feb 17, 2006
I actually don't think there are any definite legal requirements,
I know I found that strange .

This section, therefore, does not lay down detailed specifications for staffing to cover all situations but it does set out some baseline standards which should apply as minimum to all settings. Each home must then determine the appropriate staffing levels and skills to meet the assessed needs of its own particular residents, which will then be approved by the National Care Standards Commission (NCSC).
So look up National Care Standards Commission

found this

Then in that link go to

# Download Care Homes for Older People National Minimum Standards (PDF, 341K.


Registered User
Aug 9, 2007
I know that in Mum's home to change the staffing levels they had to go through a "Needs" asseessment of the residents.

When Mum moved in there were two nurses and 4 carers am 3 carers pm and a Nurse and a carer over night. Frequently there was an "Adaptation Nurse" as well (ie was a nurse from overseas doing a period of training to be able to work in the UK) but she was classed as being supernumerary.

By the time Mum passed away all rooms had been converted to singles and there was a max capacity change. Staffing had been altered to 1 nurse on all shifts, a senior Carer (NVQ3 qualified), a 2 or 3 carers (either with or training for NVQ2).

Ration then was about 1:4.5 or 1:5 I think. It was an EMI Unit.



Registered User
Mar 23, 2005


Registered User
Jan 31, 2004
near London
Jan's home, which caters for more challenging cases that other homes can't manage, including younger people with dementia, has a ratio of 1:3 in daytime, 1:6 overnight.

At present the residents are mostly, like Jan, well advanced in their dementia and require a major amount of continuous attention for feeding, nursing and personal care. In the past, the same people were all very mobile and required a different sort of attention, but still with the same staff ratio being required.


Registered User
Jul 31, 2007
Thank you for all your replies.

There are two floors at mums home one being solely for EMI residents, which is where mum is. The staffing ratio is (1:4) they are very friendly, happy staff but they always seem to be run off their feet, and at meetings this is the issue that keeps being brought up, although we are reassured they (the care home) are within government guidelines. The care home also have work experience students whenever they can get them to act as floaters, and to generally chat to the residents while the qualified staff are doing other jobs.

Thank you for the links, I will be reading and taking notes.


one united

Registered User
Mar 2, 2009
North West

Staffing levels are set by the registering body. They set minimum levels if I recall correctly and nothing has changed from when I was last a manager. It is based on home size and layout etc.

However, staffing levels are usually maintained at a minimum (cost :rolleyes: ) and in exceptional circumstances are increased.
From my experience in NH you are usually 'run off your feet'.
Mum and I were both nurses and were only talking about this last night.

If you have specific concerns that care is not being given to an acceptable standard because of staffing levels I'd suggest you take your cioncern to the Home Manager in the first instance. If you're still not happy then approach CSCI who will investigate your concerns and reassess staffing levels.


Registered User
Apr 23, 2011
As a care home manager we staff 1:6 am 1:7 pm + for nursing and EMI nursing, 1:7 0R 8 EMI + residential or General residential 1:10 + at night for all. The '+' is a float who goes between all units where the need is. These levels have so far proved safe due to the goegraphy of the units, We train all staff and carer NVQ 2 or 3 rate runs at 80%.
In view of recent concerns raised by 2 families about staffing levels,they have both read a report that Scotland runs at 1:4, we are looking at the staffing levels and auditing accidents and incidents against staffing. We have found that accidents and incidents are higher when staffing levels were greater. The reason for this is not fully clear. As a manager I will always listen to the concerns of families but I also have to justify increases in the wage budjet to my employers, this is not always an easy juggle but at no time would I or any of my staff leave our residents un cared for.
There are no guidelines any longer, we are advised to assess residents and staff accordingly. As resident needs change from day to day this is really a difficult call to make especially for short notice absence from work.:
Last edited: