Central Texas is Facing a Shortage of Nurses in Their Nursing Homes

Central Texas is Facing a Shortage of Nurses in Their Nursing Homes

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Nursing homes in the area are in what they describe as a crisis situation due to the shortage of skilled staff.

 

The Texas Health Care Association released a recent report stating that the turnover rate in nursing homes and long-term care facilities in the state may be as high as 97 percent for certified nursing assistants and 90 percent for registered and licensed vocational nurses. High turnover is often accompanied by less acceptable levels of care.

According to the Texas Health Care Association’s predictions, the numbers are only likely to get worse as the need for more nurses increases, meaning that the level of care for residents is likely to decrease further as a result.

One of the primary factors contributing to the crisis may be the growing gap between stagnating Medicaid reimbursements set by the state and increasing nursing home expenses. This gap has resulted in unacceptable wages as well as neglect of facilities.

Another contributing factor that was noted is the overdemanding regulatory environment that the nurses must work within. While regulation is essential to ensure the safety of nursing home residents, sometimes overregulation can have a negative effect on those same residents. According to the report, “On any given day, 34 different local, state, and federal agencies with authority over licensed nursing homes in Texas may visit a nursing facility.” This type of stress on staff is making it harder to retain them as employees.

 

When those staff members are replaced, the new employees often lack experience. In an interview with KTBX-TV, Wendy Goodrow, the executive director with Broadmoor Place Senior Living Center, stated, “We expect that we would get some applicants with a little more experience so that we could put them to work immediately and that is a little bit hard to find." In fact, many of the applicants have no experience at all.

If you cannot get access to the turnover rates of a facility, it may be helpful to casually ask individual staff members how long they have been working there. More than a few years may indicate a stable and positive care environment. A few months may indicate an underlying problem that could affect the quality of care. 

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Leo G. Anderson

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