Nurse hiring practices must evolve as resident profile changes, expert says

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Hiring nurses with the right skill sets and maintaining proper staffing levels will be increasingly important from both quality of care and business standpoints, according to the leader of a prominent association of long-term care nurses.

“The complexity of care is very different than it was even five years ago,” said Charlotte Eliopoulos, RN, MPH, ND, Ph.D., executive director of the American Association for Long-Term Care Nursing. She spoke to McKnight's on camera at the recent American Health Care Association/National Center for Assisted Living annual meeting in Phoenix.

Eliopoulos offered timely comments about the need for providers to focus on nursing staff. 

Staff competency and the concern shown by staff are the top factors influencing whether residents and family members recommend a long-term care facility, according to newly published research. The report from the National Research Corporation also shows that skilled nursing facilities with satisfied workers have fewer deficiencies and a higher quality rating from the government.

At the same time, greater coordination of the healthcare system and other trends, such as increased rehabilitation therapy services, have put pressure on providers to find nurses with particular areas and levels of expertise.

LTC operators will soon have a new resource to help them address these issues, Eliopoulos said. The AALTCN has teamed with other long-term care nursing associations to create a position paper that will be released soon, which will include staffing recommendations.

“There's a business case for that proper level of staffing,” she said. “When you look at turnover, preventing complications, it really is cost-effective to staff wisely.”