Long-term care facilities offer patients around-the-clock physical and cognitive care, which means they have to employ enough workers to cover all hours of the day. Nurses and other long-term care facility staff often have to work long hours or late nights to care for patients in a job that is already highly physically and emotionally taxing. On top of that, patients are sometimes combative, leaving nurses and staff members injured during a shift. This combination can take a toll on the overall morale of staff members over time and is a major factor in the low retention rates of long-term care facilities.
Worker burnout in long-term care facilities has been a well-known industry challenge for many years. Low morale among staff can have quite a negative impact on the overall culture of a long -term care facility, and can also have severe financial implications for an organization. On top of the obvious issue of high employee turnover, having dissatisfied and unengaged staff members in a long-term care facility often results in more errors being made and can greatly affect patient care and safety. Low morale can also impact employee safety. Between 60 and 80 percent of workplace accidents are attributed to poor employee morale, according to the American Psychological Association.
The financial impacts of low morale can include professional liability claims, lawsuits, increased workers’ compensation claims and premiums and more. While healthcare facilities insurance programs can help cover some of the financial damages, if nothing is done to improve the situation, these types of claims will continue to happen. In order to help lessen these impacts, long-term care facilities must ensure that they are maintaining a happy and healthy work environment and making employee morale as high of a priority as excellent patient care. After all, with low employee morale, patient care suffers.
One way that long-term care facilities can increase morale is to take steps to reduce employee burnout. What is employee burnout? According to psychologist Herbert Freudenberger, burnout is a state of “fatigue or frustration brought about by devotion to a cause, way of life, or relationship that has failed to produce the expected reward.” A difficult work environments is the norm in long-term care facilities, and most staff members go into the job knowing this fact. Still, even the most dedicated and giving staff members can eventually be worn down by the stress of the job.
Long-term care facility owners and managers should focus as much on the wellbeing of their staff members as they do their patients. Implementing policies within the organization that help ensure workers are well-rested, such as by limiting overtime hours or scheduling 8-10 hour shifts instead of 12 hour shifts can significantly reduce burnout. Alternatively, offering staff a quiet and comfortable place to rest and decompress on breaks or in-between double shifts can also help improve their wellbeing and boost morale. Simply knowing that the organization you work for cares about you and is prioritizing your health can go a long way.
About Highland Risk Services
At Highland Risk, we use our expertise and experience to provide insurance information and programs to those who serve long-term care and senior living facilities. Since 2007, we’ve been offering insurance and risk management plans designed to help our agents give their clients the ability to achieve continued growth while simultaneously protecting against loss, containing costs and increasing profitability. With offices to serve you in Chicago, Illinois and Phoenix, Arizona, we do everything we can to make your experience with us as professional and transparent as possible. To learn more, contact us at (877) 890-9301.