Twin Cities Nursing Homes Say Low Wages Hurting Level of Care

Written By: Kenneth LaBore | Published On: 29th April 2015
Nursing Home Resident Assisting Resident

Nursing Home Resident Assisting Resident, Low Wages an Issue to Provision of Quality Care

According to Nursing Home Staff Low Wages a Real Issue

Nursing homes throughout the Twin Cities say that they are caught in the midst of a serious problem and they say that the state is the cause leading to low wages for staff members. When a nursing home is cited for not providing adequate care, they are responsible, however. But now the nursing homes want the state to fix it.

The homes say that it is impossible for them to offer their staff competitive wages and that that is compromising the care for their residents. They want to be able to pay their staff more, but they aren’t able to do it.

According to some who work in the field, the situation is a crisis that will see no end unless something is done about the funding. Among some who have worked in the nursing home field for a long time, they say that they feel that 2015 is the year of crisis. In fact, some predicted that 2015 would be the year more trouble would begin in the sector.

One longtime nursing home staffer said that patients notice when something is going wrong with their care. For instance, they see the nurses are getting slower at tending to daily tasks. They notice when the nurses are tired or when they are struggling because they are busy or frustrated.

While nursing homes have lost personnel to other medical facilities offering better hours and wages, there are many that are anticipated to leave for different industries as more big businesses pop up throughout Minnesota.

What many have found is that even low-skill jobs pay more than the starting wage for a certified nursing assistant in a nursing home. The lag in raises and the small increments in which raises are given make employees upset and angry. Many say they are simply tired, but the nursing homes don’t want to see them go out the door. At the same time, it is acknowledged by nursing homes that their staffers can only do so much. Because they can only do so much, issues like wandering & elopement of residents can result.

Low Wages Lead to Staff Turnover and Lack of Trained Staff in Nursing Home

A high staff turnover can also be challenging for residents. They get used to a nurse and then that nurse leaves. This can be upsetting to residents and then they may have difficulty forming an attachment to their caregivers or re-establishing a comfort level.

These are staffing issues that are not unique to the Twin Cities. Many nursing home operators say that the state has imposed limits on what can be charged to residents, which has capped how much can be paid to workers.

Nursing home workers receive around $6 less per hour than hospital workers do, according to a survey conducted by multiple industry groups.

The good news is that legislators have introduced bills that would change the state’s nursing home reimbursement rate formula.

If the proposed change would happen, it would come at a cost of $200 million for the first two years. If it doesn’t pass, then the issue of low wages and compromised care could continue and that would cause issues when families look for nursing homes for their loved ones. The nursing home industry in Minnesota could see some significant changes all around either way. Reducing the number of residents that could be accepted is one of the solutions to the problem. Nursing homes would have to utilize that solution in order to minimize poor patient care, which would minimize their liability as much as possible. It would also minimize the options for families needing homes for their loved ones.

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