Smart Quiz! When Choosing a Senior Care Facility for a Loved One, What Factor is Most Important:
Answer: Staff Turnover
Most people don’t go shopping for a senior care facility until they have to. Whether considering Assisted Living, Skilled Nursing or Continuous Care Retirement, there is one red flag that should stand out in your evaluation. There are several key indications that the facility is well run, safe and a good fit for your consideration. Here’s what you need to know.
While evaluating the activity selection, cleanliness, rooms, and food are very important, the staff turnover tells the most important story of all.
Staff turnover is one of the best indicators of how safe, friendly, reliable and trustworthy a senior care facility really is. Residences that put time and effort into resident care also tend to care about their employees. A happy worker is more likely to stay with the company long-term.
- The best way to judge turnover is to ask the facility coordinator for that specific metric. Just be aware that, if the number is high, it can be difficult to judge whether they’re being honest. You can also check their overall rating and review some of the specifics at Data.Medicare.gov.
- Compare direct turnover rates. One study showed that the average one year turnover rate for nursing homes ranged from 48 to 119 percent. The higher the position in the facility, the lower the turnover rate. Use this as a basis by which to compare the rates at residences.
- Measure patient to staff ratio. Federal requirements for Medicaid and Medicare patients mandate at least one Registered Nurse (RN) be on duty every shift, along with a Director of Nursing (DON), Licensed Practical Nurse (LPN) or another RN. Pay attention to how many nursing staff members you see as compared to the number of patients you see. A low staff to patient ratio could mean the facility has a high turnover rate, or is consistently overburdening employees, both of which end in poor patient care.
- Speak with employees privately and promise your confidentiality so they know their conveyance will not put their job at risk. Staff members probably aren’t going to reveal all the dirty details, if they exist, but may provide some useful insight.
When it comes to caring for elderly loved ones, settling for a place with a high turnover rate could mean settling for shortcuts or poor quality of care. Best of luck with your search. Knowing what you know now, you’re better able to make a well-informed decision.