Nursing Aide Staffing Shortages- Are Occupational Injuries to Blame?

As we pointed out in our last post, skilled care facilities are facing a growing shortage of nursing aides. A number of factors contribute to the high turnover rates, but chief among them may be the high rates of injury among the aides.

Nursing aides have a very physical job, and must work long shifts on their feet and lift willing and unwilling patients regularly. Nursing aides say that they are often required to look after more patients than they can safely handle—on average, one aide for every ten patients. A telling statistic is that nursing aides suffer more occupational injuries than construction or factory workers.

The high number of injuries leads to a high turnover rate—between 34-75% of nursing aides turn over every year. This is costing the industry much, about $6.3 billion a year, in terms of hiring and training new workers, and experts say the costs could be reduced if better working conditions were implemented.

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