Understaffing in nursing homes: Why is it happening?

Nursing homes are a vital part of the health system in every nation or region they are located in. However, with the ongoing pandemic and other factors, most of them are dealing with a major problem. As of a few years, nursing homes are substantially and dangerously understaffed.

In this article, we will talk about what a nursing home does, who works in it, and which reasons are related to its understaffing. To dig deep into this issue, we prepared this article about why nursing homes are so understaffed today. Let us see the following topics:

  1. What is a nursing home?
  2. Who is on the staff of a nursing home?
  3. Which are the reasons nursing homes are son understaffed?
  4. How can understaffing affect patients in nursing homes?
  5. Where can I find information about staffing services for nursing homes and more?

1. What is a nursing home?

Nursing homes in the UAE.

In the healthcare industry, you can find a high number of different buildings, each one with a specific purpose. For instance, Hospitals often deal with emergencies and surgeries, and Oncological Institutes deal with cancer patients.

Nursing homes have the specific purpose of providing health and personal care services to patients who cannot take care of themselves. They mostly have elderly people as their patients, but they can also have disabled people. Above all, nursing homes have the function of giving people of advanced age comfort and company in their final years. All of this while providing them health-care and physical therapy.

You can find a nursing home almost in every country. They often decrease health services demand for elderly persons, which represents a huge help to Governments and Health Ministries worldwide. Now, in nursing facilities, staffing is highly required today. But, you must not confuse this concept with the one of consulting, because they have certain differences.

2. Who is on the staff of a nursing home?

As healthcare facilities, nursing homes rely on health professionals who have the proper education, skills, and experience in this matter. However, the amount of personnel needed for its operations is significantly lower than for Hospitals or Clinics.

Classification of this staff is done based on their functions in the nursing home. Hence, the list of positions in each one can vary due to the type of patients they handle.

To make it easier for you, we prepared definitions for the three most common positions in all nursing homes. These positions are registered nurses, certified nursing assistants, and physical therapists. Now, nursing homes are not the only organizations that are understaffed today. For example, in Dubai, you can find many firms with this undestaffing problem.

Let us show you those positions definitions we prepared for you:

2.1. Registered Nurses (RNs)

Without a doubt, nursing home patients often require medical treatment and care. However, they are not required to have a permanent doctor on their staff, but to have permanent registered nurses (RNs).

Above all, their function is handling medical tasks with the patients, while also evaluating the rest of the staff. Their legal requirements can vary depending on where nursing home is located. But, in general, they need have their licenses and have between two and six years of education. Now, you will find it helpful to know the staffing trends of 2022 when selecting registered nurses for your nursing home.

2.2. Certified Nursing Assistants (CNAs)

In most cases, nursing home patients need a high number of treatments to be applied regularly. This takes up most of the working time of registered nurses.

Certainly, RNs’ workload leaves them with no time for maintaining the health and wellbeing of patients in terms of daily activities. To handle the remaining tasks, such as eating, dressing, and using the bathroom, nursing homes have Certified Nursing Assistants (CNAs).

As it is with RNs, CNAs’ requirements can also vary depending on where the nursing home is located. However, it is common that they require continuing education every year, besides being supervised by RNs. Moreover, CNAs can be hired as temporary employees on a full-time basis.

2.3. Physical Therapists (PTs)

RNs and CNAs will keep patients with their daily activities and their medical treatment fulfilled. However, most patients in nursing homes are elderly people, and they very often have mobility problems.

Most RNs do not have the experience or the education to handle these problems. To take care of this kind of patient and perform their physical treatments, nursing homes have Physical Therapists (PTs).

In essence, PTs work as supporting staff. Hence, they do not need to remain in the nursing home permanently. But, their labor is paramount to ensuring patients’ well-being. As they can be temporary staff, a temporary staffing agency would help your nursing home tremendously.

3. Which are the reasons nursing homes are so understaffed?

Understaffing problems in nursing homes.

Understaffing is an issue many companies and businesses are facing nowadays. nursing homes are not exempt from this, but in their case, this problem is more accentuated. As a result, a substantial number of nursing homes are taking drastic measures regarding this issue. Some of them are stopping accepting new patients and asking for Government support, among others.

However, this issue will remain unresolved unless you deal with the real reasons understaffing is occurring in nursing facilities. Most importantly, these reasons are linked mostly to the location where nursing homes are located. But, we managed to find and write about four reasons that can be seen in almost all locations. They are the result of a health crisis, inadequate policies, and the nature of work in nursing homes.

Let us now show you these four reasons why understaffing is happening in nursing homes:

3.1. Effects of COVID-19

As medical facilities, nursing homes are severely affected by the COVID-19 pandemic. Furthermore, it has been a high number of COVID-19 outbreaks in many nursing homes around the world.

Patients and staff are both being affected by this. However, regarding staff, the pandemic has left nursing facilities with a deep understaffing. In essence, nurses, nursing assistants, and more have decided not to follow this line of work due to health concerns. Therefore, nursing homes need to build stronger health safety policies to ensure workers feel safe.

Additional medical PPE and new access restrictions must be a part of these new policies to attract new staff. After all, nursing home workers think too about their safety and the well-being of their families. Furthermore, nursing homes are not the only industry where the COVID-19 pandemic has left its mark. There are also been changes in private household staffing because of the pandemic.

3.2. Working compensations

COVID-19 pandemic, military conflicts, and more have affected every nation’s economy. Most importantly, it has been a severe increase in inflation and a substantial supply chain shortage.

In this matter, nursing homes never had big salaries for their workers. But today, they have had to reduce these salaries and benefits even more. As a result, nursing homes staff has preferred to migrate to other lines of work to seek better compensation. Moreover, attacking this problem is not an easy task at all.

This is where Government assistance is more needed. In essence, nursing homes today require financial support to keep their staff and to attract new workers with higher compensation. We mentioned supply chain shortage as one of the consequences of economic problems. However, it has affected staffing in more ways than just nursing homes.

3.3. Exhaustion and overtime

Understaffing in every industry has a primary consequence: it increases the workload of the remaining staff available. In other words, they must comply with additional tasks that would be assigned to absent workers.

In nursing homes, the lack of necessary amount of staff has pushed current staff to work as quickly and as long as they can. This transforms into overtime and long hours that can be beneficial because they translate into higher compensations. But, with the extra work, nursing homes staff often feels overworked. It can leave them exhausted after working several hours, increasing the possibility of mistakes and missing changes in a patient’s condition.

Above all, exhaustion and overtime are mostly related to workers’ motivation. Finding techniques to increase motivation can be tricky. Nonetheless, with help you can do it properly.

3.4. Lack of available certified nursing staff

The previously mentioned problems have another major consequence related to nursing homes: they make careers in nursing unattractive to young students.

As a result, finding certified nursing staff is being more and more difficult every day. Moreover, the available certified nursing staff prefers to go to other facilities, such as clinics and hospitals, where compensations are better.

Therefore, changes are badly needed to bring higher demand for job offers in nursing homes. In this matter, ideas such as offering training and work promotions are good to promote staffing in nursing homes. Staffing agencies can bring this type of idea to you. However, choosing the right one for your nursing home can be difficult.

4. How can understaffing affect patients in nursing homes?

Understaffing in nursing homes is certainly a major issue. However, besides how it affects facilities, we must also analyze how this problem affects patients.

Without enough staff, nursing homes are unable to provide a high level of personalized care for each patient. In other words, Understaffed nursing homes fail to dedicate time to pay attention to detail, which can lead to mistakes, injuries, and death of patients.

Furthermore, immobile patients are at the greatest risk with this problem, because they are the ones needing the most medical attention.

5. Where can I find information about staffing services for nursing homes and more?

Nursing homes are a paramount part of the healthcare industry. Most importantly, they keep elderly patients away from emergency rooms by providing proper medical care and ensuring their wellbeing daily. Therefore, resolving their understaffing problem must be a top priority for their owners, governments, and health institutions around the world.

One way you can address this problem is through a staffing agency. They will give you the correct strategies to attack understaffing and keep your nursing home running. At Connect Staff, we believe in doing meaningful work for you, by providing the staffing services you require in your nursing home.

Do you have some questions about staffing services? Take a moment to contact us and obtain more information about how we can help you, by calling us at +971 43 316 688. You can also email us at contact@connectstaff.ae, to talk with one of our representatives who will answer all your questions.

On The Talent Point, you can find your dream job among the many jobs offers we have for you. Apply for one today by sending us your CV to thetalentpoint.com. Moreover, we will not store CVs that you send to contact@thetalentpoint.com. Come and improve your professional life with us.

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