High turnover = Abuse and Neglect

Safe staffing is critical to provide quality care and meet resident needs. A new study confirms what is obvious: High turnover negatively affects the quality of care, and leads to abuse, neglect, and wrongful death. The study found that low staff turnover was consistently associated with higher quality of care. The study was funded by CMS under a research contract.

Overall, the average annual staff turnover rates were 44% for registered nurses. 46% for total nursing staff. The annual turnover rates for both groups were lower among nursing homes with higher star ratings. Researchers found that average total nursing staff annual turnover rates were 53.4% among 1-star nursing homes, while it was 40.7% for 5-star facilities. Rates were best  among nonprofit, smaller, hospital-based, and rural nursing homes.

Retention Strategies

The findings confirm an association between staffing levels and quality, and shed new light on the importance of staff consistency. The nursing home industry has a history of high turnover of caregivers. The causes for the high turnover rate are simple. Poor pay. Bad working conditions. Burn out. Minimal benefits, if any.  The profitable industry needs to do better for the sake of the residents and the caregivers. Facilities need innovative strategies for retaining workers.

The Journal of the American Geriatrics Society published the study. Study authors also include Evan Schulman, director of the Division of Nursing Homes for the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services; Christianna S. Williams Ph.D. and Alan J. White, Ph.D., who both work for Abt Associates, a federal contractor.