Fostering Staff Well-being: A Key Solution to Alleviate Staff Shortages in Long-term Care

The long-term care industry plays a vital role in caring for our aging population. However, in recent times, nursing homes and care centers have faced persistent staff shortages, putting a strain on the quality of care provided to residents. In light of this challenge, a groundbreaking study has shed light on a promising solution: prioritizing staff members’ well-being. In this article, we explore the findings of this study and the positive impact that supporting staff well-being can have in alleviating staffing shortages and improving overall resident care.

Understanding the Impact of Staff Shortages

As reported in McKnight’s Long-Term Care News, staff shortages in long-term care centers have been an ongoing concern, with various factors contributing to the problem. These shortages can lead to overworked staff, increased stress levels, and a higher risk of burnout among caregivers. Ultimately, these factors can negatively affect the quality of care provided, impacting residents’ well-being and overall satisfaction.

The Study on Prioritizing Staff Well-being

recent study published in the Journal of Post-Acute and Long-Term Care Medicine (JAMDA) delved into the connection between staff well-being and staffing shortages in long-term care centers. The study explored how investing in measures to support staff members’ physical and emotional well-being could lead to positive outcomes for both caregivers and residents.

Key Findings from the Study

The study’s findings revealed some compelling insights:

  1. Reduced Turnover: Centers that actively invested in staff well-being experienced reduced turnover rates among caregivers. By creating a supportive and nurturing work environment, employees were more likely to stay committed to their roles and the residents they care for.
  2. Enhanced Job Satisfaction: Prioritizing staff well-being resulted in higher levels of job satisfaction among caregivers. When employees feel valued and supported, they are more likely to find fulfillment in their work, leading to better morale and a higher quality of care provided.
  3. Improved Resident Care: Centers that fostered a positive work culture and invested in staff well-being observed improvements in resident care. Lower stress levels and reduced burnout among caregivers translated into more attentive and compassionate care for residents.
  4. Attraction of Talent: Care centers that demonstrated a commitment to staff well-being became more attractive to potential job applicants. This allowed facilities to draw in skilled and passionate individuals to join their caregiving teams, addressing staffing shortages effectively.

Emphasizing Staff Well-being: Practical Strategies

Based on the study’s findings, long-term care centers can take proactive steps to prioritize staff well-being and mitigate staffing shortages:

  1. Supportive Work Environment: Foster a culture of appreciation, open communication, and teamwork within the facility to create a sense of belonging among staff members.

    Need some ideas to help you get started?
    • Try launching a “Team Huddle” where staff members gather at the beginning of each shift to discuss the plan for the day, challenges, and suggestions. This creates an atmosphere of transparency and mutual support, enhancing the sense of belonging among employees.
    • Consider initiating a monthly “Staff Appreciation Day” where employees are recognized for their hard work and dedication. This recognition could range from a certificate of appreciation, a special lunch, or even a small bonus. These efforts have led to increased staff satisfaction and retention.

  2. Workload Management: Ensure that staffing levels are adequate to manage workload demands and prevent caregiver burnout. Implement strategies like shift rotation and fair scheduling practices.

    Need some ideas to help you get started?
    • • Consider implementing a scheduling system to manage shifts and ensure fair rotation among all employees. These types of systems take into account employees’ preferences, skill levels, and workload, thus helping to avoid staff burnout.
    • Perhaps consider experimenting with an increased caregiver-to-resident ratio during peak hours and complex care times to ensure that workload demands are manageable.

  3. Training and Development: Provide ongoing training and professional development opportunities to enhance employees’ skills and confidence, leading to a more empowered and engaged workforce.

    Need some ideas to help you get started?
    • Consider offering a more comprehensive onboarding program and continuous on-the-job training for your staff. Providing incentives, such as tuition reimbursement programs, can be a great way to motivate staff to advance their skills and knowledge.
    • Staff shortages can often make implementing a skills training program difficult—consider a virtual option that offers flexible training schedules to help meet your staff where they are. For example, the Engage with® Skills Training program is a great option for helping your staff learn the necessary skills and the best part, it’s accessible from any device with a keyboard and your staff will be trained live, in real-time by a licensed clinical training. Learn more about this program or take a virtual tour by visiting this link.

  4. Emotional Support: Offer access to counseling services or support groups to help caregivers cope with the emotional challenges of their roles.

    Need some ideas to help you get started?
    • Consider offering your staff access to confidential counseling services, stress management workshops, and mindfulness sessions to help caregivers cope with emotional challenges.
    • Establish support groups for your staff members dealing with grief, compassion fatigue, and other emotional stressors related to their roles in long-term care.


As the long-term care industry strives to provide the best possible care for our aging population, addressing staffing shortages is paramount. The study’s findings on the importance of prioritizing staff well-being offer a ray of hope for resolving this critical issue. By investing in the physical and emotional well-being of caregivers, long-term care facilities can foster a positive work environment, reduce turnover rates, and ultimately provide higher-quality care to residents. Let us collectively embrace this approach and create a future where both staff and residents thrive in harmony.

Are you a leader in long-term care looking to reduce staff turnover—Access our FREE Workforce Toolkit! This online toolkit dashboard boasts a series of interactive tools and resources to help you better understand the true cost that turnover is having on your center and gives you three simple steps to resolving workforce challenges in your facility. Access now:   

The Leadership Solution: Unraveling the Key to Reducing Staff Turnover in Nursing Homes

In the realm of long-term care, the issue of staff turnover is akin to a revolving door, a persistent challenge that disrupts the continuity of care for residents and places a significant burden on the remaining staff and the institution’s resources. However, a growing body of research suggests that the solution to this issue may lie in the hands of the leaders themselves.

Engaging the Power of Engagement

Leadership’s impact on staff turnover in nursing homes is primarily through its influence on staff engagement. Staff members who feel well-supported, respected, and valued by their leaders are more likely to stay in their positions and be productive in their roles. Leaders who prioritize regular communication, feedback, and recognition for staff members can help to build a culture of engagement that will ultimately reduce turnover rates.

A study by Quek et al. (2021) in a UK hospital setting found that distributed leadership, where decision-making responsibilities are shared among team members, predicted increased employee engagement, job satisfaction, and lower turnover intentions1. This suggests that empowering staff through shared decision-making can foster a sense of ownership and commitment, thereby reducing the likelihood of turnover.

Cultivating a Positive Organizational Culture

Another crucial aspect of leadership that can affect staff turnover is the overall organizational culture within a long-term care center. Leaders who prioritize creating a positive, supportive, and teamwork-oriented culture can help to foster a sense of community among staff members. This can lead to increased job satisfaction, improved morale, and a greater sense of commitment to the overall mission and goals of the organization.

A study by Scales et al. (2019) emphasized the importance of person-directed care planning in long-term care centers, which requires different roles among leadership, staff, residents, and families2. This approach not only improves the quality of care but also enhances job satisfaction and engagement among staff, which can indirectly contribute to lower turnover rates.

Communication: The Lifeline of Leadership

Effective leadership involves clear communication and open dialogue with staff members, as well as between staff members. Leaders who prioritize communication can help to build trust, improve understanding, and foster a greater sense of collaboration among team members. When staff members feel heard, seen, and valued, they are more likely to buy into the vision and values of the organization. Conversely, poor communication from leaders can lead to feelings of frustration, confusion, and disengagement among staff members, ultimately leading to higher turnover rates.

Leading by Example: The Power of Role Modeling

Leaders also have a significant impact on staff turnover rates through their role modeling behaviors. When leaders model behaviors such as respect, empathy, and a commitment to professional development, they set the tone for what is expected of staff members. Leaders who prioritize their own personal and professional growth can inspire their teams to do the same, leading to greater job satisfaction, better quality of care, and reduced staff turnover.

Embracing a Solution-Focused Approach

Finally, effective leadership involves taking a solution-focused approach to the challenges that arise in long-term care centers. Leaders who are able to remain positive and proactive in the face of setbacks or obstacles can inspire their teams to do the same. When leaders prioritize finding ways to improve care, reduce stress, and support staff members, they can create an environment that is more likely to attract and retain talented employees.

Leadership Commitment: The Game Changer

A recent study by Williams et al. (2023) underscores the critical role of leadership commitment to worker safety, health, and well-being in reducing staff turnover rates3. The study found that long-term care centers with leadership that communicated and demonstrated such commitment had relatively fewer nurses leave during the study period, with turnover rates approximately 10% lower than homes without such leadership commitment. This research suggests that investing in leadership development and fostering a culture of safety, health, and well-being could be a valuable strategy for reducing staff turnover.

Conclusion: The Leadership Imperative

Leadership is a critical factor in reducing staff turnover rates in long-term care centers. By prioritizing staff engagement, building a strong organizational culture, promoting communication, role modeling positive behaviors, adopting a solution-focused approach, and demonstrating a commitment to worker safety, health, and well-being, leaders can create an environment that inspires staff members to stay in their positions long-term. By investing in leadership development for themselves and their staff members, administrators can make a significant impact on the quality of care provided, resident satisfaction, and overall success of their long-term care centers.

In the end, the key to unlocking the door to reduced staff turnover in long-term care centers is in the hands of effective, committed, and compassionate leaders. Their role is not just to lead, but to inspire, motivate, and create an environment where every staff member feels valued and heard.

Resources Referenced in this Article:

  1. Quek, S. J., Thomson, L., Houghton, R., Bramley, L., Davis, S. G., & Cooper, J. (2021). Distributed Leadership as a predictor of employee engagement, job satisfaction, and turnover intention in UK Nursing Staff. DOI: 10.1111/jonm.13321.
  2. Scales, K., Lepore, M., Anderson, R. A., McConnell, E., Song, Y., Kang, B., Porter, K. A., Thach, T., & Corazzini, K. (2019). Person-Directed Care Planning in Nursing Homes: Resident, Family, and Staff Perspectives.  DOI: 10.1177/0733464817732519

A Game-Changer in Caregiving: Engage with® Skills Training Programs Launches Virtual Solution

The landscape of caregiving is about to change dramatically, thanks to the innovative efforts of Engage with® Skills Training Programs. This national non-profit initiative of the Mental Health Association of Maryland has rolled out a virtual skills training program that’s set to revolutionize the way caregivers are trained.

The Engage with® Older Adults at home skills training program is a live, virtual training experience that was once exclusively available to professionals in long-term care facilities. Now, it’s been reimagined and repackaged as an “at home” training curriculum, accessible to anyone with an internet connection and a device capable of streaming video. The training is split into two manageable 2-hour sessions, designed to be user-friendly, even for those with basic computer skills.

This program is a game-changer for family members, friends, and professional caregivers, providing them with the opportunity to develop and refine the skills necessary to care for and effectively support elderly parents and older adults aging in place. The skills taught in this live, instructor-led, virtual training can empower caregivers to provide better support and care, reduce resistance to care, and positively impact challenging interpersonal dynamics.

The virtual skills training is delivered in real time by a licensed mental health professional. The training is practical, interactive, and focuses on critical topics such as demonstrating respect, reducing the impact of stigma, effective communication, engaging in meaningful ways, identifying suicide risk factors, and de-escalation.

Stephen B. Goldberg, MD, Engage with Skills Training Program’s Medical Director, and developer of the Engage with concept, said, “Our mission is to improve the lives of older adults and those who support them. The elder care workforce shortage is a growing crisis that will affect us all. We must find ways to support the growing population of older adults. Our team has risen to the challenge by completing the conversion of our nationally recognized skills training program ahead of schedule, at a time when it is needed the most.

Engage with® Skills Training Programs are known for their innovative gamification approach in a virtual environment. The skills trainings have a behavioral health focus and cover a wide range of topics such as mental health conditions, substance use and medication misuse, neurocognitive disorders, traumatic brain injury (TBI), aggression and de-escalation, as well as suicide risk identification.

The Mental Health Association of Maryland (MHAMD), the parent organization of Engage with® Skills Training Programs, is a volunteer, non-profit organization that brings together consumers, families, professionals, advocates, and concerned citizens for unified action in all aspects of mental health and mental illness.

In a nutshell, the launch of the Engage with® Older Adults at home Skills training program is a significant milestone in the field of caregiving. By providing accessible and practical skills training, this program aims to reduce caregiver burnout and improve the quality of care for older adults aging in place. This is a giant leap forward in ensuring that caregivers are equipped with the skills they need to provide the best possible care.

Want to learn more about this program? Explore the Engage with® Older Adults at home skills training program online by visiting You can also read the full Press Release here.