The statistics do not bode well for those working in nursing homes. The direct care workers are usually the lowest paid workers in the healthcare industry.(1) The Bureau of Labor Statistics estimates CNA salaries ranging from $7.78 to $12.80 per hour.(2) Unmarried minority women with at least one dependent child comprise a healthy cross-section of the profession.(3) CNAs thus have built-in family stressors such as financial worries, finding daycare and caring for sick children. Multiply this with on-the-job stress due to long hours, frequent overtime, lack of respect, little time off and generally poor training; it is easy to see why staff turnover is so high. The opportunities for career growth of direct care staff are limited when looking at their average education. CNAs usually have a high school diploma but their education most likely stopped there.(4)
It makes sense to check out the décor before sending a loved one to a long term care (LTC) facility. Maybe even try the food in the cafeteria, check the comfort level provided in the beds, observe the cleanliness of the bathrooms, and determine whether the lighting is appropriate. Yet the most important aspect of LTC does not come from the outward appearances but from the caregivers.