Study: High staff turnover at nursing homes is a major problem
Working at a for-profit nursing home can be a very challenging job that doesn't pay well. As a result, turnover at some of these facilities has become a persistent problem. And while many for-profit facilities in the nursing home industry have long struggled with a high staff turnover rate, a recent New York Times article revealed an unstable workforce "may have led to staggering death tolls" during the pandemic.
According to the article, a study published in the health policy journal Health Affairs took an in-depth look at the staff turnover rates of 15,645 nursing homes in the US. What the researchers found was staggering, as the average annual staff turnover rate at these nursing homes was 128% — with some facilities facing a turnover rate well over 300%.
Nursing home residents suffer the consequences
A high turnover rate often leads to a volatile work environment, which in turn impacts the nursing home's ability to provide appropriate and quality care to its residents. Keep in mind that nursing home abuse and neglect can often be traced back to problems with the facility's staffing, from a lack of personnel to hiring unqualified or poorly-trained workers. Having vaccinated staff members leave and then hiring new, unvaccinated employees certainly didn't help prevent any COVID deaths at nursing homes during the pandemic.
Additionally, inadequate staffing makes it tougher for facilities to implement protocols that help prevent and control virus outbreaks, a crisis that has been on center stage since the beginning of the pandemic. Even though over 70% of nursing home residents have since received vaccinations, nursing home deaths still represent more than one-third of all COVID-related fatalities in the US.
What is causing such a high turnover rate?
Critics say the high staff turnover rate has been a problem for decades, as facilities that are owned by private equity and other private investment firms have been frequently accused of prioritizing money over employees and residents. The cost of hiring adequate staff members to provide appropriate care can be among a facility's top expenses, and any nursing home that is trying to make a profit can do so by cutting costs associated with personnel.
As stated in the NYT article: "Registered nurses, who are the most skilled workers, had the highest rates of turnover, and turnover varied widely across facilities."
The study also indicated that there is a correlation between a nursing home's turnover rate and its rating on Medicare's website that allows users to compare facilities: "Facilities that had low-star ratings...had the highest median turnover, and nursing homes with high ratings had the lowest turnover."
Our law firm can help you pursue justice
If you are worried that someone you love is suffering from abuse or neglect in a poorly-staffed nursing home, trust your instincts. You may be your loved one's only hope, so it's critical that you act fast to protect their health and wellbeing. Every case is different, but you should generally:
- Help your loved one seek immediate medical attention.
- Contact the police.
- Notify the nursing home of your concerns.
- Seek help from an attorney to learn your legal rights and options.
At Mani Ellis & Layne, PLLC, our highly skilled nursing home abuse lawyers understand how to handle complex cases and hold negligent facilities accountable for their actions, including those who put residents at risk by failing to hire adequate staff members. Through experienced and aggressive representation, our law firm can fight to bring your family justice. Contact us today at our Columbus office for a free and confidential case consultation. We would be honored to talk with you about your potential legal case to see how we can help.