iStock_000024485456Small-1It’s been a fascinating year to be a part of the long-term care industry. The industry continues to evolve due to the changing government regulations, the widening skills gap, and an increasing elder population. We believe the top four biggest issues driving the hiring trends in long-term care are:

1. Increasing numbers of High Acuity Residents

According to IDC Health Insights, by 2030 the number of Americans over the age of 65 is expected to nearly double, and this growing aging population places demand on long-term care providers and their staff. A majority of this demographic has a high burden of chronic diseases and illnesses that require higher levels of care compared to previous generations. Due to the rise in high acuity residents, long-term care organizations need to focus on hiring more qualified employees such as RNs, BSNs, and PAs to meet their resident’s medical needs. With nearly 10,000 Americans turning 65 each day, and life expectancy growing 2.5 years per decade, the amount of high acuity seniors will increase and long-term care organizations must adapt their hiring tactics to ensure that their employees to meet resident’s needs. In order to provide the care that high acuity patients and residents need, long-term care organizations should consider recruiting from the organizations that educate and train future healthcare employees. Long-term care organizations should also consider implementing on site training programs or development opportunities to ensure their employees are qualified to meet the needs of high acuity patients. 

2. The Increasing Popularity of “Aging in Place” and Facilitating a Continuum of Care

The Center for Disease Control defines aging in place as “the ability to live in one’s own home and community safely, independently, and comfortably, regardless of age, income, or ability level.” According to a survey conducted by AARP, most adults would prefer to age in place and remain in their home of choice as long as possible. In fact, 90 percent of adults over the age of 65 report that they would prefer to stay in their current residence as they continue to age.This growing trend should serve as an indicator to the long-term care industry that they must adapt their organizations to include home health to meet the changing preferences of the consumer. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, personal care and home health aide positions are projected to be the fastest growing occupations over the next 10 years with a growth rate of 70%, likely due to the consumers preference to age in place.

Due to the elder population’s preference to age in place, many long-term care organizations are expanding their services to home health and hospice to complete the continuum of care.  For example, in 2013 one of the biggest providers of senior living services, Emeritus, acquired Nurse on Call. By providing patients and residents with a broader continuum of care through home health and hospice services, long-term care organizations will be better suited to provide compassionate, high quality care throughout multiple stages life. If long-term care organizations are thinking about  expanding into other facilities such as home health and hospice care, they should also consider how their HR team will remain efficient and organized despite the increased workload. Large organizations will benefit from a web-based applicant tracking system to ensure they maintain adequate staffing levels to meet patient and resident needs. Applicant tracking software allows recruiters to streamline and organize their recruiting processes so that they always have a robust candidate pool of potential nurses and caregivers.

3. An Increased Focus on Person-Centered Care

With more and more healthcare organizations beginning to focus on customer satisfaction in addition to clinical outcomes, caregivers and providers are beginning to consider patient and resident preferences. This approach to healthcare is called person-centered care and strives to humanize the healthcare experience. The goal of person-centered care in the long-term care sector is to keep seniors independent as long as possible, while supporting their choices in a dignified manner. “Our entire industry is experiencing a shift to collaborate both externally and internally, explore how we can embrace our customers and residents the same way we would if they were in our own home,” says Ryan Lillis, M.S. Director of Organizational Development at EMA Communities. For talent acquisition professionals in long-term care, it’s important to think of candidates as if they were your customers. By taking the customer service values that apply to your staff and applying them to the hiring process, long-term care organizations will be able to provide a more positive candidate experience. For example, talent aquisition professionals at Heritage Community of Kalamazoo send applicants automated emails acknowleding that they have received their application. This small gesture shows the candidate that the organization values customer service and will likely attract and appeal to like minded candidates.

4. Long-Term Care is Embracing New Technology

The team at EMA Communities in Eldersburg, Maryland, has fully embraced talent management technology to improve the recruitment process and hire compassionate caregivers. In a time when hundreds of resumes are submitted for just one job, applicant tracking software is the key to narrowing down the candidate pool. EMA Communities has embraced their web-based applicant tracking system and have begun to track specific metrics showing a direct, positive correlation between the system, their practices and results.

To remain competitive in an industry faced with a job shortage, healthcare organizations need to have committed employees who are going to provide a high level of patient and resident focused care. In order to make better hires and prevent turnover, long-term care organizations should consider implementing behavioral assessments into their recruitment process. Behavioral assessments allow you to focus on a candidate’s inherent behavioral competencies such as compassion and customer focus to align with the organization’s culture. “Technology will continue to be a focus for us, using behavioral assessments for staff development and succession planning initiatives as well,” said Lillis.

To remain a step ahead in the competitive game of healthcare recruitment, post-acute care organizations must examine their current talent acquisition processes to ensure to improve the candidate experience. 

Download our white paper to learn the five best practices that post-acute care organizations can use to enhance their existing recruitment workflow by finding the balance between “high-tech” and “high-touch” methods. 

About The Editorial Staff

The Editorial Staff is a team of writers with a passion for helping healthcare organizations manage their biggest and most important investment: their employees.