When your parent or loved one moves to a senior living community, what are your top concerns?
Are you searching for a setting that will feel like home for your loved one or where staff members spend plenty of one-on-one time with each resident? Or you’re hoping to find a community where your loved one feels encouraged to participate in social events and activities or where they know that help is always just a push of a button away in emergencies.
The staff-to-resident ratio is one key metric that can offer an essential first glimpse into a community’s ability to achieve these common goals.
What is Staff-to-Resident Ratio?
A senior living community’s staff-to-resident ratio indicates the number of residents each staff member must care for during a typical shift. For example, a 1:6 staff-to-resident ratio would mean each staff member cares for six residents.
5 Benefits of Choosing a Senior Living Community With a High Staff-to-Resident Ratio
More 1:1 Support
Seniors in assisted living deserve personalized, one-to-one support from caregivers. With a higher staff-to-resident ratio, staff members have more time with each resident under their care. This can allow them to deliver the right level of assistance to empower seniors and promote safe independence.
Residents can get to Know Their Caregivers
With more time to spare, staff members can get to know the residents they care for (and vice versa). This allows for developing positive, nurturing relationships between residents and their caregivers. With these caregivers assisting with sensitive personal care tasks, residents’ ability to build trust and familiarity can genuinely make or break the senior living experience.
Better Staff Retention
Working in senior care is an emotionally and physically demanding role, which can leave naturally compassionate caregivers at risk of experiencing burnout. When a community’s staff-to-resident ratio is too low, increased pressure and workload leave caregivers unable to spend as much time as they would like with residents. This can lead to low morale and poor mental or physical health. Ultimately, these issues often result in communities having a high turnover of staff members.
Conversely, with a higher staff-to-resident ratio, caregivers feel more supported, valued, and fulfilled with reduced stress levels, leading to better staff retention as shared in the National Library of Medicine. This is good news for staff members and seniors; reduced staff turnover has been linked with improved clinical outcomes for seniors in long-term residential care.
As a family caregiver, you should feel supported and kept in the loop regarding your relative’s care and health. Unfortunately, poor staff-to-resident ratios often leave senior living staff members feeling rushed, with less time to spend communicating with residents’ loved ones.
Conversely, higher staff-to-resident ratios give staff members more time to collaborate with family caregivers and provide detailed updates on their relatives. Caregivers may also have more time to discuss a resident’s needs for the day with the person taking over at the end of their shift, which can result in better continuity of care.
Safer Environment for Residents
A systematic review published online in the National Library of Medicine found that staff having a suitable number of residents under their care was significantly associated with better clinical outcomes for residents in long-term care facilities (Perruchoud et al., 2022).
It makes sense that staff members with fewer residents to assist and more time to spend with each senior under their care are better equipped to notice health changes before significant issues arise. Moreover, with more caregiving staff available, resident calls can be responded to much quicker, resulting in seniors’ needs being attended to swiftly.
Key Questions to Ask About Staffing
While staff-to-resident ratio is a vital metric, it is essential not to focus entirely on this. Here are a few valuable questions you can ask to get the complete picture of a community’s staffing situation:
- How does your staff-to-resident ratio vary from day to night? Staff-to-resident ratios will naturally be lower during the night when residents are sleeping. However, having a reasonable number of caregivers is still essential.
- Are all staff members first aid and CPR-trained (if not – how many are on-site at any one time)? Make sure there are staff members who can deal with medical emergencies on-site around the clock.
- Which staff members does your staff-to-resident ratio include? While a general staff-to-resident ratio is a valuable metric, it is also essential to establish how many of those included in this metric are caregiving staff.
Assisted Living at Silverleaf Eldercare
Silverleaf Eldercare serves seniors in the Austin, TX area. An impressively high 1:6 caregiver-to-resident ratio allows our assisted living residents to receive the tailored one-to-one care they deserve. Our senior living homes are a perfect option for those worried about transitioning to senior care; full of comfort and compassionate support, our residencies offer the individualized care seniors need to settle in and feel truly at home quickly.
Our winning combination of high staff-to-resident ratio and utilization of modern technologies like CarePredict means we can accurately monitor our residents’ health. With plenty of caregivers available at all times, we can attend to resident needs quickly, offering all the time, support, and encouragement they need to feel truly uplifted.
To meet our passionate team of caregivers and staff members in person, give us a call and organize a guided tour of Silverleaf Eldercare today.