Staff retention, key to quality care at nursing care facilities

Staff Celebrates Resident Birthday, courtesy of Dry Harbor

The quality of care nursing home residents receive from clinicians can vary depending on a patient’s level of comfort and familiarity with their caretakers. That being said, various circumstances regarding senior care facility work forces many skilled nursing facilities to perpetually search for new employees to retrain rather than focus their attention on making their residents completely comfortable. This affects the whole of the organization as patients are constantly having to adjust to new clinicians who are trying to navigate their new settings.

Facilities such as Dry Harbor Nursing & Rehabilitation Center places an intense focus on retaining their staff for significant periods of time. In doing so, it allows for the development of crucial caretaker-patient relationships that ultimately benefit the health and well being of the residents as well as its staff members  A 2016 study by Mcknight’s that surveyed almost 3,000 nursing homes details the massive quality care benefits of caregiver retention for periods of longer than five years. Dry Harbor boasts a devoted and committed staff, with existing tenured members who began their journeys at the Center between the 70’s and early 20000s who today work together under the same roof.

The nature of nursing homework typically leads to high job turnover among their nurses and CNAs; an issue that massively disrupts the daily workflow and can ultimately impact the quality of care patients receive. High turnover rates cause nursing homes to constantly have to allocate time, staff, and resources towards retraining. As in any business, new staff must acclimate to the environment and workflow, and patient care staff in particular need to acclimate to the patients’ routines and familiarize themselves with individual mannerisms.

Patients will suffer the most as their comfort and happiness are often hinged on a caretaker’s familiarity with an individual’s routines and mundanities. “It impacts the resident’s happiness and contentment at the facility, not wanting to be a stranger to those who provide personal care to them. [In reality] Like any relationship, these relationships do take time to develop. A cohesive interdisciplinary care team only stands to benefit residents and helps bring out the very best among colleagues,” said Ellen Lishansky, Director of Marketing at Dry Harbor Nursing & Rehabilitation Center.

Job turnover in this sector also affects family members. Being that loved ones are at the forefront of the discussion, the interpersonal relationships and the ability to be a support during difficult events is a massive benefit for families with relatives in a nursing home.

Simon Sinek, the author of “Knowing Your Why” once said “The goal for us as individuals is to know our WHY so that we can more easily find the right tree and the right nest. The goal for an organization is to know its WHY in order to attract the right birds. And the goal for each team within the company is to make sure that they have the right birds in each nest — those who will work together most effectively to contribute to the organization’s higher purpose and cause.”

Dry Harbor built that nest by hiring strong department heads who seek out and assist in developing individuals with the motivation and a desire to be part of a strong team and be able to make a difference in the lives of many. The dedication to quality care begins with Dry Harbor’s owners and trickles down into its staff. Departments are collaborative and newly hired individuals have succeeded in other facets of healthcare and social work.

As a family-run facility, employee satisfaction cannot be understated as it leads to better staff retention and better client relations. This has been the primary mission of Dry Harbor’s leadership. “We truly believe that happy staff lead to happy residents,” said Debbie Barish a geriatric social work consultant at Dry Harbor. Long-standing relationships with ownership, staff, and residents positively impact morale leading to a more productive staff that are happy to come to work and grow their respective connections with their patients.

Nursing Care at Dry Harbor
Photo by: Dry Harbor

Long-term employees bring facility-specific, real-world experience as well as a level of respect to a department in addition to creating leadership positions that facilitate day-to-day proceedings with new nurses or staff members. Having long-term employees has allowed for mentor-student relationships to flourish while they forge bonds with those residents who have come for comfort and care.

Furthermore, staff often see their patients at the most vulnerable moments in their lives. The ability to deploy a significant long-term staff and rely on their experience is crucial in developing a resident-to-caregiver circle of trust. When the anxiety around staff competency is removed, the resident is able to focus on the physical aspects of their recovery. Staff, in turn, feed off of that trust and take tremendous pride in seeing their residents progress from one day to the next.

“The positive cycle of healing is precisely the mission and goal that we strive to achieve every day for our staff and residents at Dry Harbor Nursing & Rehabilitation Center,” Barish said.

About the Author
Formerly from Israel, now in Delaware, I have owned, run and worked with food, technology and politics, beginning with the MFA and several Knesset members.
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