Caregiver Turnover Impacts Care Quality

Julie Northcutt, 9/13/2011

Caregiver turnover for senior care companies can be as high as 75%.  Some of the senior caregiver turnover can be attributed to seniors passing away or recovering from an illness and no longer needing care.  The remaining reasons for high senior caregiver turnover are:

  • difficult patients
  • high client-to-staff ratio
  • fluctuating schedules
  • lower pay
  • inflexible staffing

Aging comes with some difficult aspects, such as outliving friends and family members and sometimes losing physical and mental capabilities.  Not everyone weathers some of these storms well, resulting in some seniors who seem to be in a perpetual bad mood.  No matter what, they are not easy to care for and this results in caregivers quitting.  Professional caregivers usually are very good at finding the right way to approach each client, but when the pay is the same for taking care of Mr. Nice as Mr. Difficult, they will eventually move on.

Nursing homes and assisted living communities offering nursing care will staff a certain amount of nursing aides to take care of a certain amount of patients.  This is called the staff-to-resident ratio.  Depending on the amount of care required by each resident, there should be more or less nursing aides staffed.  Many times one nursing aide is assigned to as many as 12 to 15 residents.  This can lead to over-work for the nursing aide.  Or, they can become overwhelmed and frustrated if they are not able to adequately care for each client during their morning and evening routines.

Because of this, Caregiverlist's nursing home ratings make the staffing ratio one of the top 5 criteria when choosing a nursing home.  One-on-one care provided by a senior home care agency brings professional care to the home and can be an attractive option, especially when the price is similar to the cost of a nursing facility.

"Often privately owned nursing facilities are willing to pay higher salaries and therefore have less turnover.  Asking a facility their turnover rate would be an indication of what type of nursing facility they are," says Suzi Brown, Registered Nurse.  Ms. Brown has worked as a nurse for hospitals, nursing homes and insurance companies for more than 20 years.

"A lot of injuries occur during the night-time shifts because there are almost lways lower staffing ratios during those shifts, because supposedly there is less activity," continues Ms. Brown.  She advises checking a nursing home's staffing turnover rate and also checking with the local ombudsman who is responsible for educating consumers about nursing home facilities and their health inspection reports.

Caregiverlist's nursing home ratings provide information on the staffing ratio and the daily costs of nursing homes nationwide.


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