Turnover is a well-known problem in long-term care. Every setting in senior living struggles to hang onto quality workers.
The numbers paint a pretty grim portrait of the issue. For nurses, the median turnover rate (the percentage of employees who leave a position in one year or less) in long-term care is 44%. For support staff, it’s 50%, which is almost the same rate as full-time retail workers.
As you might expect, this employee churn comes with enormous costs. When an employee quits, lost productivity, advertising for new positions, hiring temporary workers, and time spent fielding new candidates all add up to an eye-popping price tag. Replacing a nurse can cost up to $64k. But even replacing ancillary staff can cost an average of at least $6,368 — per employee.
As dramatic as these numbers look, they may be the least of the problems associated with turnover. Staff attrition can cause clinical issues, too. Generally, the higher the rate of turnover at a senior-living facility, the higher their rates of pressure ulcers, pain, and other complications. And these measures may be underestimating the toll.
In the face of these consequences, long-term care administrators have to consider two questions:
- How can our community prevent turnover from happening?
- When turnover does occur, how can we minimize its effects?
It might surprise them to learn that LifeLoop can help with both.
Easier Documentation = Happier Workers
How to keep employees happy at their jobs? Let them spend less time on the things they don’t enjoy. And paperwork is almost certainly your staff members’ least favorite thing about their jobs.
This is as true for life-enrichment staff as it is for nurses. Some life-enrichment directors report spending five hours every day on their activity binders.
All that time spent ticking boxes and charting participation is time they could have spent dreaming up new activities, or in direct contact with residents — the stuff that attracts people to this industry in the first place.
Slashing that documentation time can give some of that time back, which in turn can be a big win for morale. That’s where LifeLoop can help.
LifeLoop streamlines documentation by making it easy and intuitive. It’s an enormous improvement over paper charting. Some communities have even reported that LifeLoop cuts documentation time in half.
What could your activity staff do with an extra two and a half hours every day?
Whatever it is, it’s a good bet they’ll enjoy it more than charting. And that will make them want to stay on your team.
A More Stable Culture
In senior living, a thriving workplace culture makes staff eager to pitch in. That shows in the overall quality of care. Nursing homes with leaders that were attentive to their community’s culture saw a 14.6% decrease in survey deficiency citations.
Clearly, culture’s worth cultivating. But a deteriorating culture is also one of the indirect casualties of staff turnover. As employees leave, they take a little part of the organization’s culture with them. That kind of ingrained institutional knowledge can be very difficult to recover.
The losses can also start a vicious cycle. Diminished culture reduces care quality, damages a community’s reputation, and makes recruiting and retention that much harder — which, in turn, weakens the culture. And on the cycle goes.
Breaking it requires keeping employees on board, as well as preventing culture damage, should they choose to leave. LifeLoop does both.
As discussed above, LifeLoop helps staff spend less time in the most onerous parts of their work. But a subtler benefit is LifeLoop’s role as an institutional archive.
Lisa Moes, a Project Coordinator with Dial Senior Living, explains:
“In this industry, employee turnover is common, unfortunately, and it can be very difficult to bring new staff up to speed. An easy system like this really helps. And it can even help build a consistent company culture, even as staff rotates.”
While it’s always best to retain employees, at the very least, LifeLoop can mitigate the damage done as staff members depart.
Stronger Relationships with Residents
Finally, once turnover has occurred, it’s important to make sure new employees get up-to-speed as soon as possible. But some aspects of onboarding are easier than others.
Processes and protocols can be taught. Organizational rules are easy to memorize. But building relationships with residents? That takes time.
LifeLoop can make building rapport much faster. By storing a resident’s profile, cataloguing their interests, and drawing continuous input from family members, the platform gives new staff a lot of ways to start a conversation.
While that may seem small, consider the impact that could have on a resident with Alzheimer’s. Or on a resident who’s nervous and mistrustful of caregivers. Or on one who’s feeling lonely because their family lives in another city.
The sooner new employees bond with these residents, the sooner they’ll start to feel at home.
Creating that feeling is what long-term care communities do at their very best — and it’s LifeLoop’s mission to help them do it.