Are most LTC understaffed? Are most nurses in LTC overworked, understaffed?

  1. I am a recent grad and my first job was in a LTC facility..I have to say that the facility was understaffed..The nurse who worked there even told me that it is an understaffed facility..I know the owner or organization wants to make money so they hire less people..But that is not right at all..Is this the reason why most LTC facilites are understaffed..I dont want to mention anything bad about the faclity I was working in but because of the understaffing, it lead to a lot of negative things..

    Anyway, please tell me that in some LTC, there is adequate staff..I already was let go from the LTC facility and I dont want to to back..
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  2. 49 Comments

  3. by   Midwest4me
    Lack of staff? Most definitely this has been the case in most of the LTCs I worked years ago. There have been many threads focusing on the short-staffing in LTCs. It's more common than you think and so VERY unfortunate because the elderly deserve so much better care than what they get. :angryfire I quit the area several years ago out of frustration over shoddy staffing, lack of compassion by management AND coworkers, no breaks, etc,etc,etc. To those who stay and are able to make it work, my hat is off to you.
  4. by   SuesquatchRN
    Even when they're adequately staffed on the schedule they often have no back-ups so you end up "working short" a lot of the time.
  5. by   anniemead
    You are quite right!!! Understaffing is all over LTC and it is a crime to put it mildly. The elderly do not deserve what they get in their last years on earth. I just started LTC again after 16years.. I would like to become active in changing the way the whole Institution is structured. If any one is aware of active group or groups with this goal. I would like to be a part of it. Some thing other than words on paper. If you know what I mean.
    A real seriously Active, passionate about changing LTC. Then again maybe I should start one myself,
  6. by   CHATSDALE
    there was an article in readers digest that addressed this problem a month or so ago...apparently this is a problem all over the country
    i have worked at ltc and they USUALLY had staffing problems...if someone quit they took their time replacing, if someone called in there was some limp efforts to call someone but basically staff were expected to cover
    as long as their are money hungry owners/don/administrators...the owners offer the don and the administrator bonus if they come in under budget
    and they will cut corners that do no good to residents or staff
  7. by   Bala Shark
    The problem I had was that there were only 2 nurses for 49 pateints in the day shift..And the nurses had to do all the meds, treatments, charting, new dr. orders, and other stuff..I felt rushed all the time to do things..I did not have time for a lunch break or regular breaks..If I did take a lunch, I would be so behind with my work..I felt that there should have been at least 3 nurses to the 49 patients..That would have helped, especially in the day shifts since most new dr oders come in, phone in lab orders, faxes, etc...And in the morning, there are A LOT more meds to pass out and it takes more time..
  8. by   TheCommuter
    49 patients split up between 2 licensed nurses is actually a very decent ratio for LTC. In reality, it means that each nurse cares for 24 to 25 stable geriatric patients. I am not demeaning your personal experience; however, there are significantly worse staffing ratios in LTC.

    There are many LTC nurses who currently are expected to medicate, treat, and ensure orders are followed through for 30 to 40 patients each.
  9. by   Bala Shark
    Quote from TheCommuter
    49 patients split up between 2 licensed nurses is actually a very decent ratio for LTC. In reality, it means that each nurse cares for 24 to 25 stable geriatric patients. I am not demeaning your personal experience; however, there are significantly worse staffing ratios in LTC.

    There are many LTC nurses who currently are expected to medicate, treat, and ensure orders are followed through for 30 to 40 patients each.
    Then why did the nurse who worked with me said, that the facility is understaffed? The place that is interviewing me now has 2 nurses to 28 patients..I went in there and saw stuff more organized, neat, etc...The nurses were not clinging on the med cart or anything..

    I am not going to say anything bad about the facility I worked in but I saw a lot of things not done because of the patient load..

    I see threads coming in here about, "How to do a faster med pass?" Things like that are understaffing and unsafe practices..
    Last edit by Bala Shark on Jan 12, '07
  10. by   SportyNurse
    Quote from Bala Shark
    I know the owner or organization wants to make money so they hire less people..But that is not right at all..Is this the reason why most LTC facilites are understaffed..
    At our facility, money is definitely not a factor. They are desperate for nurses to hire, and will staff as many as they can. As we have staff available they will put a float nurse on to help out the other nurses. The problem we have though is that there just aren't enough nurses applying. My town alone has two hospitals and five LTC, and we're not that big of a town. They LTC facilities have upped their payscales to match and even beat the hospitals for $$.
  11. by   SuesquatchRN
    Quote from Bala Shark
    Then why did the nurse who worked with me said, that the facility is understaffed?
    I think the point is that understaffing is a relative term. It is quite common in LTC for nurses to have that heavy a load. It doesn't mean that that's optimal for anything other than making money.
  12. by   Simplepleasures
    Until there are state or federally MANDATED nurse patient/ ratios in place, LTCs will allways be understaffed. Corporate GREED wont get any better.Human nature.
  13. by   jetscreamer101
    Quote from ingelein
    Until there are state or federally MANDATED nurse patient/ ratios in place, LTCs will allways be understaffed. Corporate GREED wont get any better.Human nature.

    Exactly! According to regs, we are adequatly(sp?) staffed. Minimum staffing requirements are just that. Minimum. Now I can see one nurse and 1 CNA for, say 30 people, who are mostly self care.
    The problem I have is when there is 1 nurse and 2-3 CNA's on a day shift (if there is a call off, they don't replace CNAs)for 39 beds on a skilled/medicare unit with alot of skilled residents, g-tubes, o2, post surgicals, etc.

    When I started at this particular facility, things were different. It was all about the residents, had adequate staffing for the most part, even over staffed occasionally.

    I have a feeling I won't be there very much longer. On another post about knowing when to leave, someone responded that if you are trying to think up creative excuses to call in, you might need a different job.
  14. by   CHATSDALE
    the ratio would not be bad depending on the type of patient

    i have worked in a mostly mental ltc, the aides would make sure that the residents took a bath, made thir way to dining hall..
    we had a lot of meds but the txs were few except for an occasional resident who would need post surg care

    i have also worked in facilities where there were numerus tube feeding, residents who had difficulty swallowing and pills had t be crushed. and decub tx which were very time consuming...charting was done on all iddm
    tube feeders, res with tx, and any with out of line sx like temps, diarreha etc.. the aids were good about working together on bed baths and cllean ups but on spoon feeding we always tried to help when it was possible because of the time factor

    yo can't compare ltc c ltc too many varibles

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