There are many ways to choose a senior care community for your loved one. You might be overwhelmed with questions like: How do I pay? What percentage of the care staff is vaccinated? Is the senior facility for-profit or not-for-profit? While these are important aspects to think about, you should consider taking staffing into account before making a decision.

High levels of staffing shortages 

According to a recent survey, “86% of nursing homes and 77% of assisted living providers said their workforce situation has gotten worse over the last three months.”

In fact, nursing homes are experiencing high levels of staffing shortages, and assisted living residences are experiencing moderate levels.

The program director for the Volunteer Advocacy Program stated that “The biggest problem today is staffing and it applies to all states. Years ago, abuse was the biggest problem in long-term care. It still exists but now the bigger issue is neglect because of inadequate staffing and poor work ethics.”

The pandemic effect

The pandemic brought other issues to light. Trust in long-term care no longer exists, so people are let go. Those who stay do more and burn out. With the post-pandemic reevaluation of workplace dynamics, many essential employees are questioning whether they want to continue their jobs.

Since many seniors require an organized community of senior care, assisted living, independent living, skilled nursing & more, consider speaking to a geriatric care manager who can help you sort through options. You could also hire a registered nurse who can tour a place with you and help you ask the right questions.

When it comes to assisted living, the 5 Star System was the most reliable way of measuring the quality of service and the number of staff. Unfortunately, places reporting appropriate staffing didn’t always turn out to be the highest quality, as the staffing was over-reported. 

Questions you should ask:

– How many aides per patient are on duty?

– How long has the staff been on board? 

– Are temporary staff used? 

– Is management stable?

– Are there geriatric nurse specialists?

– Does the facility carry out criminal background checks?

– Do staff make rounds together?

– What is the turnover rate of employees?

– Is each patient’s care customized?

– How is their personal data handled?

– Is there a team or multidisciplinary approach to care?

– What processes are in place in the event of an emergency?

– If a resident needs medical attention, where will they be taken?

– What checks and balances are in place to ensure that everything is done legally?

– How does a resident’s primary care physician become a part of the care team?

– Is there a complete record of what’s taking place?

– Is there any kind of quality control procedure in place?