Recruitment and Retention

Recruitment and retention is a fancy name for preventing high turnover of caregivers. High turnover negatively affects the quality of care. Extraordinarily high turnover at nursing homes contributes to neglect and abuse. Now, a new report proves that failure to recruit and retain caregivers caused deaths during the pandemic. Between 2017 and 2018, median turnover at facilities was 94%, a study published earlier this month determined — with even higher levels at the lowest-rated facilities on the federal government’s five-star scale.

The nation’s nursing homes have shed 182,000 jobs since the start of the COVID-19 pandemic in February 2020. This is a significant drop for an industry that struggles to keep facilities safely staffed even in pre-COVID times.

Health Affairs published the study which reviewed at the turnover rates in 15,645 nursing homes across the country. The researchers found the average annual rate was 128 percent, with some facilities experiencing turnover that exceeded 300 percent. The rate is affected by wages, benefits, and ownership type.

Ownership by private equity who often place profits over the health, safety, and well-being of residents. These owners have long insufficiently staffed their facilities and underpaying workers. Inadequate staffing, overworked caregivers, and low pay cause abuse and neglect.

The high turnover rate makes it harder for nursing homes to implement safe infection controls measures, fall prevention, and wound care.

“Workforce recruitment and retention is among the most pressing challenges confronting longterm care providers, and we have been calling for help for years,” Dr. David Gifford, the chief medical officer for the American Health Care Association and National Center for Assisted Living.