Retirement homes and care facilities face staff turnover, turn to new solutions

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In just over a year that Bob Trout has lived in this long-term care facility, his wife of over 18 years, Marinda Trout, has seen firsthand how the pandemic and resulting staffing issues have had an impact on his life.

“I put him to bed a handful of times,” Marinda said.

“A lot of people, a lot of employees who have been through the pandemic, don’t want to go back to long-term care,” said Jay Moskowitz, CEO of Vivage, the company that runs the facility.

It’s an industry-wide challenge.

“It’s always very stressful and very difficult, and I think that’s what contributes to the high level of turnover,” said Doug Farmer, president of the Colorado Health Care Association. “I think looking at everything I’ve seen over the last two and a half years, I’m not surprised that turnover has increased.”

Farmer said that’s why many facilities have turned to agency workers and temp agencies, but it comes with its own set of problems.

“People who work for recruitment agencies generally receive a much higher level of compensation than the profession can routinely follow,” Farmer said. “The current challenge is simply to attract people to full-time employment.”

“We always use outside agencies,” Moskowitz said. “At the end of the day, the goal is to have our own staff.”

A recent industry survey by the Hospital & Healthcare Compensation Service found that national care home staff turnover has increased by 25% compared to last year.

“It’s really difficult right now to recruit. We currently have over 2,100 vacancies in our care homes, and that would mean we would need to hire around 14 staff in each of our buildings to fill that void” , Aimee Middleton, vice president of operations at Good Samaritan Society, said.

The nonprofit elder care provider has 200 locations across the United States

Middleton said they turned to creative recruiting and raised salaries to attract people.

“Over the past month, we have had to refuse admissions to over 20% of our sites due to staffing shortages, and that number is up from 5.5% in March,” he said. she declared.

Farmer said he’s seen everything from pay rises to more vacation days and even drawings for good attendance to attract workers.

“More people will need to be interested in long-term care. It’s going to take getting more people into nursing school,” Farmer said.

“They should be paid like we care how they treat our loved ones,” Trout said.

But in some cases it can be difficult.

“We’re limited on Medicaid reimbursement,” Moskowitz said. “The reimbursement system is not endless. It’s based on your taxes and mine that we pay and what the state is willing to commit.

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