While there are many employees who are truly dedicated to their positions at facilities that fall under the umbrella of the long-term care industry (retirement homes, assisted living facilities and nursing homes), there are many others who view the job as nothing more than a paycheck. Given the working conditions and relatively low wages, I can hardly blame these people for wanting to find better types of employment for themselves and their own families. The inevitable result of this discontent on the job is that there are high rates of staff turnover at these facilities where workers jump ship at the first opportunity of a better position. As reported in McKnights, a study conducted by the National Center for Assisted Living and My InnerView found that just 73% of employees at assisted living facilities stayed at their jobs over a one-year period. Moreover, after reviewing staffing data from 370 assisted living facilities across the country, the authors of the study further evaluated turnover rates by position within the facility and determined:
- Food service personnel had a 26% turnover rate
- 29% of nursing staff were likely to leave their positions during the course of the year
- Non-certified caregivers and CAN’s were also likely to move onward to different positions with annual turnover rates of 44% and 29% respectively leaving their roles
Impact Of Staff Turnover Rates In The Senior Care Industry
On the surface, there’s probably little difference between the turnover rates for employees at long-term care facilities compared to other industries involving relatively modest pay in challenging work environments. What differentiates the turnover rates in positions involving employees at assisted living facilities is that many of these people have the responsibility of caring for residents on a daily basis—for extended periods of time. Familiarity with residents and what the respective roles are in their jobs is an integral part of each patients emotional and physical well being. Filling an empty position with another body may look good on paper, but countless intangible benefits bestowed upon patients are lost during the transition.
Need For The Industry To Recognize Staff Turnover As A Significant Problem
From the role of a patient advocate, it’s easy for me to harp on the long-term care industry as greedy bunch where profits are extracted from every crevice of the operation. However, management needs to take note of the widespread dissatisfaction that many of their employees experience on a daily basis. By improving employee job satisfaction, many more workers would be committed to the long-term success of the company. Who knows, perhaps the residents would be happier as well?