3 Senior Care Staffing Shortage Solutions You Should Consider

Attentive and compassionate staff play a crucial role in delivering quality senior care services. The best employees memorize every resident’s allergies and dietary preferences, ensuring that everyone gets the perfect meal. Many older adults also enjoy socializing with friendly staff as they take orders, deliver delicious food, and chat about the latest community happenings. This level of personalized care can transform meals from a boring routine into an engaging dining experience.

However, an industry-wide staffing crisis has made finding and retaining great employees increasingly difficult. According to a recent McKnight's Senior Living survey, 70% of assisted living communities are experiencing a significant or severe staffing shortage. Many factors contribute to this issue, including burnout and low pay. Fortunately, you can address these problems and overcome staffing challenges with the right elder care software and solutions.

1. Employee Engagement and Recognition

Most senior living professionals choose their jobs because they love taking care of residents. But working in dining services isn’t always a walk in the park. A spilled dish, mixed-up order, or absent co-worker can make even the most experienced staff feel burned out and stressed.

Senior care organizations can boost employee morale by regularly recognizing their staff’s achievements and hard work. For example, you could allow residents to nominate caregivers for awards when they provide a stellar quality of care. Many employees also enjoy receiving acknowledgment and gifts for significant milestones like work anniversaries.

Small gestures like these can significantly impact staff retention and job satisfaction. According to research by Gallup, highly engaged organizations have less employee turnover and absenteeism. Keeping the staff you already have is the first step in addressing hiring shortages.

2. Collaboration and Partnerships

Creating meaningful partnerships with other organizations can help you meet senior care staffing needs. For example, you could work with a temporary staffing agency that specializes in recruiting health care professionals. These organizations allow you to outsource tasks like running background checks and vetting job candidates. As a result, you’ll have more time to focus on supporting your current employees and providing quality care for residents.

You can also consider partnering with local community colleges and other educational institutions with cooking and nursing programs. Your senior living community could offer paid internships for students who want hands-on experience in dining services and respite care. In exchange, you'll get a steady stream of enthusiastic interns who may decide to apply for permanent positions in your organization.

Finally, your senior care organization could collaborate with other local health care groups to host job fairs. These collective events may help you attract a larger pool of applicants and enable you to screen interested candidates in person. Working together also allows you to split expenses like advertising, making hiring more affordable.

3. Dining Technology Adoption

Implementing the latest senior care solutions can help you attract and retain the best employees. For the best results, look for software like eMenuCHOICE, which has been designed specifically for senior living communities.

Here are four ways that dining services management technology can help you overcome staffing shortages and deliver a higher quality of care.

Streamline Billing and Revenue Capture

Dining services are a major source of revenue, but billing residents for individual meals can be tedious and time-consuming. This process becomes even more complicated when residents bring family and friends to enjoy their community dining experiences. Staff can quickly feel frustrated when they need to calculate discounted prices for guest meals or settle billing disputes with residents.

eMenuCHOICE alleviates stress for everyone by streamlining the billing process. Residents can choose flexible meal plan options and monitor their balance from their accounts. Communities can also set up special pricing for guest meals so residents know the cost beforehand.

These features save time and reduce stress, making staff more likely to stay engaged and satisfied at work.

Improve Resident Experience

You can also tackle elder care staffing challenges by selecting dining software that enhances the resident experience. eMenuCHOICE gives residents more control over their daily dining experiences. The user-friendly software allows residents to choose their own meals and provide customized instructions for the chefs. As a result, dining staff don’t have to worry about memorizing complex orders.

eMenuCHOICE also includes detailed descriptions and photos of every meal option. This feature ensures that residents always understand what they’re ordering, increasing their satisfaction. Employees also feel happier when they consistently interact with delighted residents, leading to a more positive work environment.

Integrate Real-Time Resident Data

Dining and nursing staff often worry about making mistakes that may endanger residents’ health. eMenuCHOICE decreases the risk of error by integrating with electronic health records (EHRs) and other software. This feature ensures that employees always have access to the latest resident data.

Say a resident gets diagnosed with hypertension. As part of their care plan, the doctor recommends a special diet. This information will automatically appear in the eMenuCHOICE platform, so staff can guarantee that the resident receives the correct meals. Employees also don’t need to waste time entering resident health information into multiple systems, alleviating pressure on busy staff.

Streamline Efficiency Through Online Ordering in Senior Living Communities

eMenuCHOICE speeds up dining processes by allowing residents to place orders online. Residents can use accessible devices like smartphones and tablets to browse and request menu items at the table or days ahead. Instead of rushing around the dining room collecting orders, servers can spend time answering questions about the menu and providing attentive care.

Community-driven dining options also increase operational efficiencies for production kitchen staff. Chefs know exactly what they need to prepare to get a head start and beat the dinner rush. Thus, you may need less staff to provide the same high-quality food.

Transform Senior Care Staffing Challenges Into Opportunities

Senior staffing challenges continue to affect many communities, but these problems aren't unsolvable. Innovative elder care solutions like eMenuCHOICE streamline operations and reduce employee strain. Instead of stressing over bills or dietary preferences, dining and nursing staff can focus on providing the best care. As a result, they're more likely to stick with your organization for the long haul — and potentially help recruit new employees through positive word of mouth.

Request a free demo from eMenuCHOICE today to learn more about how our dining services software can help you increase employee satisfaction, collect revenue, and provide top-quality care for residents.

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