Staff Retention

Improving Staff Retention in Nursing Homes

The healthcare industry is faced with many challenges in their operations. For certain sectors like nursing homes and long-term care facilities, staff retention is one of the most impactful challenges. High attrition rates of caregivers, coupled with a staggering rate of caregiver burnout, have presented significant financial and risk management hurdles for facility managers. To manage employee turnover costs and to insure continuity of care for the nation’s nursing home residents, there are strategies available to improve staff retention, including that of nursing home insurancesolutions. In this guide, we will explore some of the best practices for long-term care facilities in improving staff retention.

Employee Retention and Caregiver Burnout: The Facts

In a study conducted at Walden University in Minneapolis, Minnesota, researchers investigating nursing home operations discovered a high attrition rate among healthcare professionals and paraprofessionals. Using data compiled by the American Health Care Association in 2012, certified nursing assistants (CNAs) had a 31% higher turnover rate as compared to other staff in nursing homes, with an estimated cost impact of as much as $63,000 per individual. Among registered nurses (RNs) and licensed practical nurses (LPNs), attrition rates were substantially higher than in many other industry categories as well. In an article published in Med Care in 2010, researchers pegged turnover rates in nursing homes to be as much as 100%, especially among CNAs and in the range among all caregivers between 55% and 75%.

Caregiver burnout, or the phenomenon of chronic physical and mental exhaustion in healthcare providers, has also had negative impacts in the long-term care sector. Numerous studies investigating severe caregiver burnout have estimated that as many as 50% of caregivers across all healthcare sectors will experience some form of burnout in their careers. 

Factors Influencing Caregiver Attrition Rates

There are many factors that influence caregiver attrition rates in nursing homes. As attrition levels rise, these factors are aggravated, ultimately leading to further loss of staff and the associated costs of turnover. Factors include:

  • High workloads, with understaffing and a growing number of patients with complex health issues increasing workloads for each caregiver.
  • Low pay rates, especially as compared to other healthcare sectors like hospital and specialty clinic staff.
  • Workplace conditions and workplace management issues.
  • Management turnover.
  • Burnout.

Best Practices for Improving Staff Retention in Long-Term Care Facilities

Faced with high turnover rates and alarming caregiver burnout statistics, what can nursing home owners and managers do to improve staff retention? The solution begins with the hiring process. Facility managers need to recruit staff members that see their vocation as a calling rather than a way to simply earn a living; by doing so, these facilities can staff workplaces with dedicated caregivers who value their contributions.

Workloads and salaries must also be considered. Low salaries contribute to employee turnover, and while it is not always possible to provide competitive salaries, forward-thinking facility managers know that the cost-savings associated with boosting salaries helps to manage the expenses associated with recruiting and training a constant stream of new caregivers. When a facility is adequately staffed, individual workloads can be better managed as well. 

Team-building exercises that include all stakeholders have improved staff retention rates in nursing homes. When employees feel as if they are part of a team – a team that includes their managers and leadership – retention rates improve dramatically. 

Many nursing homes and care facilities have adopted staff wellness programs – serving as both an employee perk as well as a means of managing risks. Wellness programs may include stress-management training, exercise programs like yoga, healthy eating instruction, and guided meditation. Programs like this have been demonstrated to slash caregiver burnout rates; healthier and happier caregivers are also more likely to remain with a given facility that provides these valuable programs. 

For long-term care facilities, nursing home insurance is only one part of a more comprehensive risk management strategy. Taking care of employees through competitive salaries, wellness programs, and managing workloads can help nursing homes reduce staff turnover.

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.