Healthcare leaders have faced the issues of retention and turnover for decades. In fact, as early as 1946, many hospitals were reporting unexpected and severe shortages as nurses returning from service in WWII did not resume work in civilian hospitals (Whelen, 2014). Now the shortage has become a national crisis, especially for organizations that provide post-acute care and are experiencing high turnover rates and recruiting difficulties. To add to the concern of these chronic staff shortages, demand for the need of post-acute care services continues to increase.
It is projected that by 2050, 27 million Americans (up from 15 million in 2000) will require some type of post-acute care service. This surge is in part due to the aging baby boomer population. According to estimates by The Department of Health and Human Services, in order to meet this demand, the need for direct care workers will increase by over 200%. Unfortunately, this alarmingly increased need comes at a time when the overall workforce supply is beginning to level out.
Because the demand for post-acute care services will continue to outpace the availability of healthcare workers, it will become increasingly important for organizations to develop and retain their employees. There are excessive costs associated with turnover due to recruitment, training, and loss of experiential knowledge. Besides the bottom line costs, chronic turnover leads to greater workloads for remaining staff, which in turn contributes to low morale, and ultimately reduced quality of care.
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