The Real Cost of an Open Position

Staffing shortages in nursing homes and senior living centers continue to challenge administrators and executive directors across the country. Years of too few healthcare professionals and support staff to fill open positions has culminated in a near-crisis situation in some parts of the country, exacerbated by eighteen months of battling the coronavirus. 


A recent survey by the American Health Care Association and National Center for Assisted Living (AHCA/NCAL) found that 94% of the 616 nursing homes and 122 assisted living communities surveyed were experiencing a staffing shortage. In addition, due to factors related to the COVID-19 pandemic, nearly three-fourths indicated that their workforce situation had worsened compared to 2020.


The reality is that both large and small facilities find themselves scrambling to hire enough people to fill openings in positions from RNs, LPNs and CNAs to housekeeping and dietary staff. As the situation worsens, more than the obvious dollars and cents measure the price of these long-term, ongoing shortages. In reality, the real cost of open positions fall into the following areas:


Resident care 

Low staffing impacts how well residents are cared for. The chance of medical errors increases, as does the potential for resident falls. The staff may be more prone to injuries as well. The sad truth is that understaffing can also lead to unintentional neglect.


Staff burnout 

When staffing numbers fall short, current team members will inevitably have to fill in the gaps. Stepping up to be a team player and being invested in the team's success are worthy and desirable attributes, but there is a limit to how many extra shifts a nurse can be expected to pick up. Overworked nurses and staff who are dealing with this added stress, in addition to the "normal" stress associated with their job, can easily succumb to nurse burnout. Ongoing open positions can ultimately result in increased turnover rates, creating more open positions.   


Lowered census

Staffing shortages can become severe enough that they result in a healthcare organization being unable to admit new patients or residents. The number of residents the team can adequately care for will undoubtedly be impacted by the number of open positions across the facility's workforce.


The financial bottom line

Empty beds and long-term overtime pay cannot help but significantly impact a facility's finances. Over time, the loss of revenue and the increased costs can force an organization to close a wing of the center or even its doors permanently when the community desperately needs the services they provide. 


Working with a recruiting partner is often the best decision a nursing home or assisted living facility can make. Whether the need is for a temporary staff member who is ready to step in for 30, 60, or 90 days, or a permanent placement, LeaderStat can help. For more than twenty years, LeaderStat has partnered with healthcare organizations across the country to assist them in filling their open positions with highly qualified healthcare workers who are ready to step in to keep the organization moving forward. The LeaderStat team is here to assist your organization.


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LeaderStat specializes in direct care staff, interim leadership, executive recruitment, travel nursing and consulting for healthcare organizations nationwide.