High staff turnover in nursing homes linked to quality risks

High staff turnover exists in nursing homes nationwide and is correlated with several organizational characteristics, including quality, according to a new study.

The study, published March 1 in Health Affairs, examined auditable payroll-based daily staffing data collected by CMS for 492 million nurse shifts at 15,645 nursing homes between Oct. 1, 2016, and March 31, 2019.

Researchers found that the average annual turnover rate for total nursing staff was 128 percent, and the median annual turnover rate was 94 percent. Registered nurses had the highest average annual nursing staff turnover rate, compared to licensed practical nurses and certified nursing assistants, and some nursing homes had rates that exceeded 300 percent.

Researchers said they identified several characteristics that correlated with total nursing staff turnover, including facility location, for-profit status, chain ownership, Medicaid patient census, and quality star ratings. 

The findings "suggest that turnover is high nationwide, varies considerably across facilities and regions, and is correlated with numerous organizational characteristics," study researchers concluded. "Moving forward, publicly available nursing staff turnover data [via the CMS nursing home compare tool] may help incentivize changes to reduce turnover and provide new information for consumers, policymakers, payers and other stakeholders."

To learn more about the study, click here


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