February 22, 2023 | Net Health

3 min read

Doing More with Less: Giving SNF Staff the Tools they Need to Succeed

Doing more with less.  It’s become a mantra for the recession-risk era of post-COVID operations, as skilled nursing facilities (SNFs) look to remain profitable even as staffing levels remain critical.

Consider recent industry data, which found that at the current pace of re-employment, it will take until at least 2027 for SNFs to reach pre-pandemic levels.1 This presents a persistent problem: With facilities chronically understaffed, doing more with less often becomes doing less with less — effectively, SNFs are just trying to stay afloat.

 With the right tools in place, it’s possible for SNFs to find a better balance between care, cost, and compliance.

The Challenge: Fewer Staff, More Patients

Patients are coming back to SNFs, but staff aren’t following in turn. 

According to the National Investment Center for Seniors and Care (NIC), facility occupancy levels in August 2022 reached 87.2% of baseline levels seen in February 2020.Employee numbers, however, aren’t keeping pace. Survey data found that 24% of operators were forced to limit admissions last year due to staffing shortages, with 79% saying it was increasingly difficult to recruit caregiving staff, and 67% citing staff turnover as a major issue.3

While wages and benefits play a role in recruiting SNF staff, caregivers also highlighted the problems of staffing ratios. For example, 35% of staff working first, second, or third shifts said they cared for 15 to 20 patients simultaneously, while 18% said they were responsible for 25 or more. Not surprisingly, this creates an environment where staff felt underappreciated and burnt out.4

5 Ways Smart SNFs Are Using Analytics

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The Solution: Pinpointing Priority SNF Processes

For many SNFs, simply hiring more staff isn’t possible. Between increasingly tight budgets and issues in finding and recruiting talented staff, skilled nursing facilities must find new ways to both improve patient care and reduce staff burnout.  This starts with the right tools. Equipped with solutions such as Net Health PointRight RADAR, it’s possible for SNFs to pinpoint priority processes and effectively distribute staff to maximize impact in three areas:

1) Care

With RADAR, SNFs can identify per-patient risk for specific events such as falls, pressure ulcers, hospitalization, or mortality. In addition, the predictive analytics provided by RADAR can help assess  specific needs and improve overall care. 

2) Cost

An ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure. In practice, this means that responding to sudden patient problems is significantly more expensive than designing care plans in advance to meet their specific needs. With RADAR, SNFs get access to trend data that makes it possible to create care plans that meet current patient needs and account for potential challenges. 

3) Compliance

By incorporating minimum data set (MDS) factors in care planning, SNFs can reduce the risk of non-compliant operations. By pinpointing high-risk patients before risks become realities, organizations can ensure that the right patient supports are in place where they’re needed most.

Doing more with less means prioritizing patient care based on need, risk, and compliance requirements. With staffing levels limited even as patient volumes rise, however, solutions such as Net Health Point Right RADAR can give staff the tools they need to succeed. 

See how RADAR can help your SNF pinpoint process priorities. 

Schedule a demo with us today.

Net Health® PointRight Post-Acute Analytics delivers advanced analytics solutions and best-in-class machine learning models with actionable insights that empower Skilled Nursing Facilities, payers, and other post-acute care stakeholders to improve resident outcomes, enhance facility operations, maintain compliance, and succeed in value-based care. Net Health helps SNFs succeed by harnessing their data to drive quality care.

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1 American Health Care Association (AHCA) / National Center for Assisted Living (NCAL), “Long Term Care Jobs Report, January 2023,” January 2023
2 National Investment Center (NIC), “Skilled Nursing Occupancy Continued Increase in August 2022,” November 3, 2022. 
3 Skilled Nursing News, “Operators See ‘Glimmer of Relief’ As Staffing Concerns Shrink,” October 22, 2022.
National Association of Health Care Assistants (NAHCA), “CNAs Cite Low Wages, Burnout, Lack of Respect as Key Contributors to Staffing Crisis,” March 4, 2022.

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