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Risk Management: A Look at Staffing Standards

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Senior care facilities are required by law to provide sufficient staff to provide adequate care for residents; at least one registered nurse available for at least eight hours a day, and at least one licensed practical nurse on duty twenty-four hours a day.

However, to meet the need of residents, assisted living homes must move beyond these minimum requirements and attract quality health care providers. In order to do so, it is necessary to have a plan in place for staff recruitment, training, and retention in order to provide a constant, high quality standard of care.

Recruitment

It takes a particular set of skills to work with the elderly. Therefore, one of the primary concerns when recruiting nursing staff is to make sure candidates are comfortable working with the elderly. In addition, previous work history and references should always be checked thoroughly to help avoid risk.

Training

Nurses need training in facility and patient specific requirements. Additionally, in-house training provides for a staff that remains up-to-date on the latest procedures. Inadequate training leads to job dissatisfaction, high turnover, and possible patient dissatisfaction or even injuries. Conversely, consistent training adds to nurse and patient satisfaction and a safer environment.

Retention

A high turnover rate can be a sign of trouble in a facility for senior care. Nursing staff can be retained by providing job satisfaction.

    • Career Development - A facility for senior care will find it easier to retain staff if opportunities are provided for additional education and promotion.
      Career Objectives - Employees need to know job expectations and then receive reasonable compensation for a job well done.
      Staff Empowerment - The nursing staff should be involved as much as possible in decision-making so that they have a feeling of empowerment.
      Staff Expectations - The staff workload should be reasonable, with flexible work schedules. The facility should constantly monitor their staff/patient ratio.
  • An environment of open communication between staff, directors, and residents must be encouraged if the needs of all those involved in daily care are to be met.

    Highland Risk understands the need to make sure all those involved in the care of the elderly do so with professionalism. Our programs help protect against the exposures faced by elderly care facilities as they continue to assess their ability to provide quality care. Please call us at one of our two offices in Chicago at 847-832-9100 or Lansing at 517-676-7100 for further information about our programs.

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