The skilled nursing industry has been slowly recovering from the COVID-19 pandemic with increasing occupancy rates. However, there are still certain challenges that operators will face in the upcoming months reports Skilled Nursing News.
One of the bigger issues nursing homes face will be staffing rates. Panelists at a recent Synergy Summit agreed that in order to increase retention and recruitment of staff, more investment will be necessary as well as changes in HR operations. Tim Fields, Chief Executive of Ignite Medical Resorts, said their HR department was restructured so they could focus on hiring new staff while the corporate office was given HR operational responsibilities.
Additionally, an effort has been made to be more accommodating to employees with differing schedule needs. Norman Rokeach, founder and president of Marquis Limited, believes this will help retain employees because “a lot of these folks are single moms… it’s perhaps a six hour shift versus an eight hour shift, perhaps it’s a 12 hour shift twice a week versus the traditional 40 hour.” He believes accommodating the needs of staff will also help improve the culture of the organization.
Cory Christensen, CEO of Plum Healthcare, added that improving culture will help improve the quality of care provided to residents which will impact occupancy rates as well. He stated “Creating a stronger culture is also related to the same issue of how do we build our occupancy back… folks that would opt out to collect an unemployment check rather than serve, I don’t want them. They’re not about what we need to be about.”
When an operator has a good workplace culture and strong staffing relations, they can admit patients who may be more difficult to care for. This also inherently helps increase occupancy rates.
Rokeach also discussed the need for organizations to be more creative in today’s competitive landscape. For this reason, his organization has been focusing on special ethnicity programs to drive census numbers. Given the local market they operate in, they have developed specific programs to target the Korean, Spanish and Indian populations.