Senior citizens have seen substantial improvements in their health over the last several years, thanks to education, proper treatment of chronic conditions, healthy eating and increased physical activity.
In 2010, 40 million Americans were age 65 and over, and by 2050, that number will more than double to an estimated 88 million. Along with this growth comes an increased need for long-term health care (LTH). According to USNews.com, at least 30 percent of those expected 88 million seniors will require LTH services to complete basic daily tasks such as bathing, walking and eating.
An increase in patients equals a growth in labor demand for LTH facilities, but finding the right staff can be difficult. LTH facilities spend 60 percent of their funds investing in employees, so what steps can be taken to find the right worker? Similarly, in what areas can other costs be cut in order to keep up with competitive pay? Here are a few tips to keep in mind:
- Did you know that 10 percent to 20 percent of new hires are eligible for federal tax credits? Between $1,200 to $9,000 per employee, these dollar-for-dollar reductions – not deductions – are available to employers hiring individuals from certain target groups who may have faced barriers and adversities when seeking employment. Many employers are not even aware of the credits’ existence.
- Ensure you’re reducing compliance exposure. Federal and state regulations can be complex and tricky, especially with the constant updates to the Affordable Care Act. Make sure all employees are on track with certification renewals and the most up-to-date practices. (This also can be encouraging for employees wanting to grow in their roles and earn promotions.) Few seniors are able to afford their health care, which currently carries an annual, per-person average of $84,000, roughly 63 percent of which is paid by Medicaid. Continue to ensure that your facility is following regulations so that you aren’t facing unwanted charges or litigation fees.
- Set your facility apart by having the best staff and work environment. With the right technology, turnover rates and labor costs will be reduced, and sensitive documents will remain confidential. Working in the health field is not for everyone; employees may easily experience burnout. Often, employees may work 12-hour shifts or seven days a week, leading to a taxing physical and mental demand. Satisfaction and loyalty are likely to improve when employees are empowered and able to manage their own schedules, view their time sheets and track their hours and accruals for time off. Happy employees lead to better care for patients, higher commitment to the job and, hopefully, higher referrals of more top talent.
- Eliminate manual processes where applicable. Make your data input more accurate by using auto-fill for calculating, timekeeping and mailing. Manage documents such as FMLA, OSHA, garnishments, disciplinary actions and schedules online, via desktop computers or mobile devices, anywhere the Internet is accessible.
Having the right human capital management technology can make a significant difference in the quality of care that patients receive, as well as the reputation and success of your facility.