In the United States alone, nearly 1.4 million people are cared for in nursing home facilities. Unfortunately, understaffing in nursing homes has been a constant in recent years. The effect of COVID-19 has amplified the problem, adding supply shortages to the existing staff shortage problems.
A shocking 95% of nursing homes don’t have enough staff members to properly take care of residents and employees. Not only is understaffing a drawback for employees and residents, but it’s a serious complication for employers as well. When businesses don’t have enough employees to delegate work to, the risk for overworking, injury, and illness skyrockets.
This is where workers’ compensation insurance comes in handy. Workers’ compensation is absolutely critical to protecting your nursing home, especially when understaffed.
Let’s take a closer look at how workers’ comp can help you protect your employees and your business below.
Understaffing in Nursing Homes: Consequences & Risks
No matter what type of business you run, there are always a certain number of risks to be aware of. There are also risks that are specific to working in a nursing home. For instance, dealing with chemicals, medicine, and medical equipment all pose certain risks of injury or illness for your employees.
However, due to severe understaffing in nursing homes in the United States, this risk of injury and illness increases.
Because of understaffing, employees are more likely to suffer from the following:
- Severe stress from overworking, having longer shifts, and not getting the rest or time off they need.
- Psychological concerns that arise from overworking and lack of rest.
- Physical illness from increased stress and lack of sleep.
In addition to the increased risks of psychological and physical damage that overworking nursing home staff members experience, there’s also an increased risk that your employees will make mistakes and be more prone to safety hazards.
For instance, an employee who is overworked and overtired may not be able to devote the time and energy to being careful at work. A well-rested employee who’s had adequate time off is much more likely to implement safety training and minimize workplace injuries.
How to Support Your Understaffed Nursing Home
If your company is unable to hire more workers, there are a few ways you can support an understaffed nursing home.
First, understand your staffing needs and delegate a team member to analyze your budget. There may be some way you can help evenly distribute work more effectively to help ease the workload for your staff.
Consider outsourcing any work needs, as well! If you have a smaller budget and can’t afford to hire a full-time employee with benefits and more, consider outsourcing a company to run your help desk or call center. This can take the workload off your employees and save you money.
Lastly, make room for your employee’s needs. If they need rest or time off, have a system set in place so they can access it. This guide breaks down how you can set a plan in place to help your understaffed nursing home.
How Workers’ Comp Can Help with Understaffing in Nursing Homes
If your nursing home is understaffed, your business is more susceptible to workplace injuries, illnesses, and lawsuits if you’re unable to compensate your employees. But, don’t panic. Having the right workers’ compensation policy can protect your business and employees, even in the midst of a staffing shortage.
Here’s how it works!
Workers’ compensation covers your employees’ medical expenses from injuries or illnesses incurred as a direct result of work. If you’re understaffed, your need for workers’ compensation increases.
If one of your nursing home employees sustains an injury on the job, workers’ compensation covers medical treatment, hospitalization, compensation for lost wages, medication, physical therapy, and much more. This can save you hundreds of thousands in out-of-pocket expenses in the long run.
In addition, having a reliable workers comp program can assist with the way injuries are handled. For example, there are some insurance carriers that have a program called nurse triage. This connects your employees to medical assistance over the phone. This encourages employee reporting, getting them the care they need, and saves your nursing home money in the long run. Ask your current agent or carrier about this program!
Nursing Homes & Class Codes
There are two class codes used on a work comp policy in a nursing home. Class code 8824 is for healthcare employees. Class code 8826 for all others -for example admin, sales staff, and drivers.
It’s important to note that nursing homes are under a different code than other types of medical centers and hospitals. Understanding your class code is essential to making sure your business gets the workers’ compensation coverage it needs! NCCI determines these codes, it is best to speak with your insurance provider to make sure you are appropriately classified and everything is up to date.
Make Sure Your Nursing Home is Covered
Here at Direct Work Comp, our experts can help you navigate the world of work comp to make sure your nursing home is adequately protected. From navigating class codes to making sure your work comp process is streamlined and easy, there’s no better way to save time and money so you can focus on your company.
Don’t let your business be susceptible to bankruptcy or lawsuits from injured employees. Chat with our experts to make sure you have the coverage you need today! Reach out at [email protected].