Not MY Nursing Home!

My colleague, Steve Moran of Senior Housing Forum, wrote an article a few years ago that ruffled some feathers, to say the least. His post, Nursing Homes…A National Disgrace prompted scores of angry comments from people crying, “Not my nursing home!”

Beyond the anger, people asked some hard questions about why so many nursing homes have a terrible reputation. One of those hard questions is about quality employees and retention. Whether you are leading a nursing home, assisted living or other offering in aging services the fact is the same: 

Employee retention is an obstacle to excellent care.

One comment on Steve’s article particularly resonated with me:

“The dirty little secret about our business is that, despite a company’s size, corporate mission, experience, capital resources, quality brochures and even flashy media, this industry lives and breathes based on the actions of a caregiver, making $11.25 an hour, doing the right thing at 3 a.m….night after night.”

Let that sink in a bit.

In today’s decaying culture, how do you find dedicated, caring, moral, and ethical staff to recruit and hire? People you would trust to uphold your reputation and do the right thing, night after night?

Doesn’t everyone experience retention challenges, as those better employees you have spent time, effort, and expense training and educating – jump ship?!?! So, what is the answer/solution?

They’re good questions!

Certainly, there are plenty of obstacles to hiring and retaining great team members. And high turnover is definitely an obstacle to excellent care and support. In fact, research consistently shows that increasing staff turnover results in a decrease in quality measures across the board. 

Let’s not forget behind decreased quality measures are real people.

It’s a real person in pain.  It’s someone’s mother or spouse declining.

What else does decreased quality mean?

A worse reputation in the community, a poorer image with the local hospital, all leading to a decreased census, revenue, and an overall downward spiral. So, what can you do to stop these people who are looking to jump ship and bringing down quality?

First, get the facts.

One study uncovered the myths of turnover, including the myths that CNAs don’t have a good work ethic. ARE YOU KIDDING ME? For example, that that they will leave for ten cents more an hour. WRONG! Instead, how staff is treated by their supervisor, and the organization overall, is actually the key indicator of employee retention. 

As a former administrator for 15 years and now a consultant that has worked with thousands of team members in a variety of organizations, I have seen this to be true time and time again.

So, the questions are valid, the research is convincing…now what does the solution look like?