The keys to reducing turnover in long-term care (McKnight’s LTC News)
Here’s my latest article on McKnight’s Long-Term Care News:
“They keep giving me these new aides and they don’t know what they’re doing,” a disgruntled resident commented during a psychotherapy session.
“You’re not the first person to tell me that,” I replied, looking for a way to acknowledge her experience without criticizing either the facility or the new aides. “You have the honor of training them.”
“Yes, if they’d listen,” she said with an edge in her voice. “But it’s a lot of work.”
The turnover rate in long-term care is a significant problem, with rates ranging from 55% to 75% for nurses and aides and sometimes over 100% for aides alone. Having personally witnessed a great deal of turnover during my years in LTC, I was curious about why the rate is so high and what could be done about it. I turned to the research to find the answers.
Costs of turnover
I was dismayed by a study that suggested that the persistence of turnover over the years might be because nursing homes could save money by treating their staff like a never-ending supply of fast food workers and avoiding investment in training and retention practices.
To my great relief, I found data indicating that there are many costs associated with turnover, including increased hospital readmission rates, high employee replacement costs, loss of productivity, poorer quality of care, a decrease in staff and resident morale, increased work stress, job dissatisfaction, increased accident and absenteeism rates, increased overtime costs, and resident and family dissatisfaction. Aside from the moral reasons to reduce turnover, it’s also worthwhile on a strictly monetary basis. An estimate of the per-worker cost of turnover in the general U.S. economy is about 20% of the worker’s annual compensation amount.
Much of the literature looked at turnover in aides and nurses and while the findings weren’t always consistent between studies, the following factors were associated with job dissatisfaction and workers leaving their employers.
Factors associated with turnover
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