The longstanding story of long-term care staffing is that organizations can’t afford to increase the salaries of their workers due to Medicaid reimbursement deficits, rising expenses, tight margins and other fiscal hurdles.
As we’ve seen during the pandemic, however, low-paid direct-care staff often supported themselves by working at multiple facilities, leading to increased infection rates and disastrous results that took a financial and human toll.
More recently, severe staffing shortages related to COVID-19 have constrained the ability to take in new admissions and forced some companies to raise pay in an effort to retain and recruit staff.
The investment in staffing will reap rewards in numerous areas, especially in a capitated model where prevention is key. The true LTC staffing tale is that we can’t afford not to give workers a livable wage.
Here’s the real storyline, a long-term care riff on the children’s book “If You Give a Mouse a Cookie”:
If you give the staff a livable wage …
If you give the staff a livable wage, they’re probably going to stay at the job longer.
If they stay longer, they’ll get to know each other and work better as a team.
If they work better as a team, they’ll know whom to contact when they notice small problems,
Like a leak in the ceiling or a dissatisfied family member, before the leak is a flood and the dissatisfaction is a lawsuit.
If they notice growing problems, they might ask for training.