It is widely known that most facilities caring for seniors do not have enough quality caregivers. It has been a world wide problem for many years. There are certainly many reasons why but perhaps the most significant reason is pay. Caregivers in senior facilities are paid anywhere from $10.00-$15.00 an hour with most falling around the $13.00 mark. These hourly wages are also before taxes so the take-home pay is extremely low. The list of responsibilities any given caregiver has for a particular resident is long, but when you multiply that list by 10 residents it makes for a very overwhelming and exhausting job for very little compensation. This is why facilities struggle to find good people. The best caregivers will typically go and work for either a private family or a company where the wages are higher or they will work at a few different places at the same time.
As I have discussed in many previous blogs, we need to find a way to train caregivers better and compensate them more appropriately to keep facilities well staffed. If companies invested in their employees, they would not keep losing them and facing so many complaints regarding care.
My mom lived in three different facilities over the years and one thing they all sadly had in common was using one main excuse for family care complaints. Whenever there was a problem, a lack of care, or something not done appropriately, the caregivers and higher level staff would use the excuse that they were either short-staffed or they were in the middle of training new people. I heard this excuse literally hundreds of times; I have the emails to prove it. Senior facilities may in fact have these shortages and they may also be training new people, however that is not our problem and it is not a legitimate excuse for lack of care.
Residents are paying very large fees to receive care in a facility. I know that for my mother's care we were paying almost $8,000 a month! If we were paying for specific care then we should have been receiving it. If facilities can't provide enough caregivers to deliver the necessary degree of care then they should not be taking in so many residents and they should be reducing costs and refunding families. When you sign a contract to enter a facility you are disclosing the care you need and that care may increase. Facilities know what is needed and they need to be held accountable when they do not provide it.
Do not let facilities use this excuse, and call them out when they do. Move your way up the management chain to make sure that your loved one is getting what they need and what you are paying for. The caregivers are usually overworked and unable to handle the number of residents they are assigned each shift and that is something the facility is responsible for. The state laws that indicate the minimum number of caregivers that must be on any given shift does not mean it is appropriate for the amount and specific needs of the residents in that building. Know your rights and do not be afraid to speak up to make sure your loved one gets what they need.