Staffing has long been a challenge for assisted living facilities (ALFs) and similar long-term care centers. The process of identifying qualified candidates, recruiting them, and training them to provide for the residents of these facilities is complex. To mitigate the risks associated with caregiver recruitment, nursing home insurance is but one part of a more comprehensive risk management strategy. In this guide, we will explore tips for ALFs to improve caregiver recruitment processes, ensuring quality candidates and a safer facility operation for residents.
Recruitment and Staffing Challenges in ALFs
The long-term care sector has faced significant challenges in recruiting and retaining qualified personnel. Many facilities are understaffed, and younger caregivers may not be interested in pursuing careers in nursing homes and assisted living facilities. Other factors contribute to the challenges faced by ALFs in recruiting caregivers, including:
- Lower pay rates than in other healthcare settings
- High workloads
- Excessively high turnover and burnout rates
- Fewer benefits than in other healthcare settings
- Fewer opportunities for advancement
In simple terms, as caregivers retire or transition to other healthcare settings, they are not being replaced by qualified candidates at rates that can support operations. ALFs that are understaffed typically experience higher risk exposures, straining even the most robust nursing home insurance policies.
Changing the Caregiver Recruitment Mindset
The first step for ALFs in improving caregiver recruitment is by changing how caregivers are perceived. This requires a fundamental shift in mindset on the part of facility owners and managers. Too often, caregivers are viewed as easily replaceable commodities, which can lead to dissatisfaction with work and boost the attrition rate. Instead, facility managers must adopt the mindset that caregivers are valuable assets to be carefully selected and nurtured. By doing so, job satisfaction improves. Even more importantly, risks associated with understaffing, employee burnout, and negligence or neglect are effectively mitigated. This provides both quality of care and facility safety improvements.
An added benefit of this changing mindset – the caregiver as asset – is that recruitment processes can become easier and more efficient. Your ALF or senior care management agency will gain a reputation as a great place to work, attracting top talent to your recruitment initiatives.
Applicant Screening Pitfalls
Many caregivers in ALF settings require few professional certifications or experience. This is especially true of the paraprofessional staff working under a registered nurse or dietician. Even though certification is not always required, many ALFs impose arbitrary hiring criteria to the recruitment process. This has the unfortunate side effect of eliminating caregiver candidates before they ever have a chance to interview for a position. For example, some ALFs require CPR or basic lifesaving certification from applicants. The candidate may be qualified for other reasons – their experience, their compassion, their reliability – but may miss out on opportunities because they do not hold all of the required certifications.
ALF managers must take great pains to review their recruitment processes, eliminating arbitrary certification requirements that can be overcome by a single evening of professional training. Remember that quality candidates are more than their certifications – they can and should be trained to fit into the role.
Refining Job Postings
In many cases, the way in which a company announces a job opening can have profound effects on the types and quantity of candidates. In ALF settings, job postings should both catch candidates’ attention as well as weed out unwanted caregivers. To determine if your job postings are producing the desired results, consider:
- Does the job posting stand out in a crowded recruitment field?
- Does the job posting answer common questions prospective caregivers will have?
- Does the posting “sell” the job in terms of what candidates can expect in salaries, benefits, and job duties?
- Does the posting have a clear call to action?
A great job posting helps candidates relate to a given ALF or care center. It also provides them insights into the facility’s workplace culture. Best of all, it garners the attention of the candidates you seek – those who can approach the role with compassion, care, and skill in healthcare delivery.
It is important for ALF managers to understand that recruitment of quality caregivers is a part of risk management. Just as nursing home insurance protects facility assets and staff, good recruitment processes help to ensure a safer working environment for fellow staff members and for the residents who depend on compassionate and experienced personnel.
About Caitlin Morgan
Caitlin Morgan specializes in insuring assisted living facilities and nursing homes and can assist you in providing insurance and risk management services for this niche market. Give us a call to learn more about our programs at (877) 226-1027.