As a result of staffing shortages, lack of support for new nursing grads, and inefficient vendor partnerships, care quality in senior living facilities has been suffering. This is a complicated problem facing all areas of healthcare, but it is hitting long-term care especially hard.
McKnight’s recent webinar, “Elevating Senior Living Quality Through Trusted Partnerships,” brought together four industry experts for a panel discussion on this topic. Together, they shared what they believe is contributing to the problems of short staffing and nurse retention and how building trusted partnerships with industry vendors can help solve some of these problems and ultimately increase care quality for our nation’s seniors.
You can access the 60-minute presentation here:
Don’t have time to watch the full webinar? Read on for a detailed recap of the most important topics covered during the discussion.
Q: What are the biggest barriers that prevent us from building a sustainable nursing workforce?
One of the biggest problems preventing sustainability within the nursing workforce is retention. There are several things that could be done to relieve this problem, including:
- Prioritizing the emotional and physical safety of nurses
- Offering more comprehensive benefits packages
- Providing opportunities for furthering education, such as directing CNAs into nursing schools
Turnover in nursing is costly – it can run anywhere from $40,200 – $64,500, depending on your market. It also takes time; on average, it takes 95 days to recruit a new nurse. It is worth investing in retention strategies so that turnover costs and time delays can be avoided.
Compounding all of this is the fact that seasoned nurses are leaving the bedside in droves. As more and more nurses reach retirement age, and new grads continue to leave the bedside within the first few years of practice, building a sustainable nursing workforce will only become more difficult. This is where staffing partners come in. The right partner can help you supplement your internal staff to reduce burnout, increase retention, and ensure consistency of care for your residents. But of course, relying on external staff can bring its own set of challenges.
Q: What are some of the major financial and quality related challenges facilities encounter when working with vendors in the industry?
Facilities are often wary of working with vendors in the industry because they are worried about the financial implications. While this is an understandable fear, it can get in the way of what can be accomplished with an ethical, respected partner.
When you partner with the correct vendors who are transparent with you about their billing practices, respond to you in a timely manner, take the time to get to know your goals and needs, and treat their staff well, the outcome is positive. Facilities can work with a partner like this to ensure residents get better care. Ultimately, this drives down costs across the whole system at large and creates opportunities for retention in a continuum of care.
Facilities should look for potential partners that have a clinical quality team who can address any provider issues that may come up. Not only should this team be available to conduct investigations, but there should be a strong commitment by them to retrain, upskill and educate their providers to make sure that they’re always providing quality nurses and aides.
Q: When it comes to things like patient outcomes, improved operational efficiencies, and reducing your financial risks, what partnerships can provide tangible benefits?
According to Bain & Company, 25% of clinicians today want to leave healthcare. Of the 25%, almost 90% cited burnout, and of the 90%, 40% said that they don’t have the resources and the things they need to do their jobs effectively and efficiently. They specifically called out workflows and processes being inefficient and ineffective. This is a problem that must be addressed.
If a facility isn’t prepared to pivot to new ways of working, they should expect to continue to deal with the financial headwinds that inefficient workflows cause. The status quo, today, not only brings with it financial risk, but also diminished care quality outcomes. The experience of the residents and the safety of the healthcare environment is also affected.
The key to avoiding these problems is working with a partner whom you trust to give you the tools that you need to empower your nursing workforce. There are vendors out there that can provide technology that, if used effectively, will drive greater organizational efficiency and save both you and your workforce time. More importantly, it can allow your staff to maintain high quality delivery of care, and make sure that patient outcomes are being driven towards the highest levels of reimbursement across the spectrum. A partner can help you find ways to merge the data, the technology, and the human all into this process. This is a huge benefit for any facility currently struggling to make ends meet.
Q: What are your thoughts on how we can begin to build trust with industry vendors?
Healthcare is about delivering better outcomes for patients. There is a way to align business practices with actually delivering better outcomes for patients.
It’s okay to ask a potential partner hard questions, and to work to understand their core values and how they align with yours. For example, many CNAs have left long-term care because they don’t see it as sustainable for themselves or for their families. Ask a potential partner what their system of support is for their staff. After all, it’s our responsibility to shift the paradigms that have developed over the last several years and move this industry forward. By building trusted partnerships, we can do that and elevate senior living care quality.
Ready to Find a Trusted Partner?
You can count on IntelyCare to be a partner to you, to treat our nurses and aides well, and to help you provide outstanding patient care. Talk to us today to learn how we can help you safely supplement your workforce.