The nursing home industry is one that is experiencing growth right now, since many aging Americans from the "baby boom" generation are beginning to retire and some decide to enter into nursing homes and assisted living facilities. With the boom in patients, nursing home are either hiring more attendants or giving attendants longer work hours. Unfortunately, nursing homes also have a high turnover rate for employees.
A recent article by USA Today talked at length about this phenomenon. According to the newspaper article, staff shortages are common in nursing home facilities and turnover rates are high. Between states, the annual turnover rate is between 60-100%, according to research from the Institute for the Future of Aging Services.This is due in large part to the low wages paid by many nursing homes. Over 20 states have regulated the industry, resulting in minimum-wage protection, some staff members do still make less than $7.25 an hour. Additionally, according to the article, "Since 2000, there has been a 23% increase in home health care employment, while salaries have remained the same, about $21,000 a year, according to a study conducted by Michael Hicks of the Center for Business and Economic Research at Ball State University". Overall, low wages and little to no benefits are leading to low desirability and high turnover rates for these jobs.
This new insight into nursing home employees will be helpful in allowing nursing homes to realize how to care for and better serve their patients and staff. With this in mind, nursing homes may be able to modify their practices and staffing procedures to decrease their incidents of negligence, abuse, and under/inefficient staffing. Attorney Doug Stoehr is a central Pennsylvania lawyer specializing in nursing home abuse and negligence. For more information on his practice, please call his office at 814-946-4100.