When first selecting a nursing home, the majority of people I meet have very little knowledge of how nursing homes work, how they operate, and how they are regulated.  Making this situation worse is the fact that selecting a nursing home must often happen quickly.

With a lack of knowledge, many people choose a nursing home solely because it looks clean and may have some modern amenities.  While these are factors a person may consider, the most important thing regarding any nursing home is that there is adequate staffing – with enough good and caring people to do the work.  Some excellent facilities are simply plain buildings with cinderblock walls and outdated furniture. 

A new study that confirms lowered staffing equals poor quality of care at some of the country’s largest for-profit nursing homes was reported in a recent article

The results were certainly not surprising and already known by most people working in the industry.  So, why are nursing home companies not hiring enough staff?  Simply put, to increase profit.  Staffing costs are one of the top expenses in a nursing home, and in order to drive up profits some nursing home companies staff their facilities at the bare minimum necessary to keep a facility out of trouble with the government.  

When selecting a nursing home, questions about staffing should certainly be expected.  A response that a facility tries only to meet government staffing regulations may not be good enough.  Additionally, good facilities tend to keep employees for a longer time.  A high turnover rate for aides and nurses may indicate a troubled facility.

Asking the right questions can be the key to avoiding a poorly staffed and substandard facility.