Government-backed subsidies lowered employee turnover rates by more than 30%, according to a new study of group homes. The result gives hope to skilled nursing operators.

“We’re looking now at nursing homes, and the turnover rates for nurses’ aides are very similar,” explained University of Illinois researcher Elizabeth T. Powers.

A big challenge is a lack of incentives for keeping low-wage workers in place, she said.

“In these low-wage jobs, people really need the money they earn to live,” she said. “They don’t have any kind of financial cushion to speak of, so they’re very sensitive to the wage. If the wage is low and they don’t like something on the job, they’ll walk to another employer. But if the wage is good, they’ll stay.

“Essentially, these workers are the product these facilities are selling,” Powers added. “If clients constantly have workers who don’t know them … they’re not going to perceive it as a high quality experience.”

Her research was published online in the Journal of Disability Policy Studies.