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 Assisted Living Wages Creep Up, But Turnover Remains High, Survey Finds

​Wages and salaries in the assisted living sector grew slightly last year, but the industry is plagued by high turnover, a new survey has found.

Managers’ salaries grew by 2.28 percent from 2010 to 2011, according to the “Assisted Living Salary & Benefits Report,” published last week by the Hospital & Healthcare Compensation Service. Non-managers saw their salaries grow by 2.32 percent, the survey said.

Assisted living administrator salaries rose 1.96 percent between 2010 and 2011, from $71,075 to $72,471, while chief executive officers/presidents were paid $141,847 in 2011, an increase of 3.31 percent.

Registered nurses saw their hourly wages grow by 16 cents per hour, to $27.83 an hour in 2011.

Licensed practical nurses saw their hourly salaries climb slightly, from $19.68 to $20.11 an hour, while certified nurse assistants (CNAs) saw their hourly wages climb from $10.81 to $11.11 from 2010 to 2011, the survey found.
Only three categories of workers saw their wages fall, the survey found: Maintenance helper wages went from $11.60 an hour to $11.59 an hour, and maintenance mechanics had their wages fall from $14.99 to $14.92 an hour. The biggest change hit chefs, who saw their hourly wages fall from $22.40 an hour in 2010 to $20.55 an hour in 2011, a decline of more than 8 percent, the survey found.

Some 1,758 assisted living facilities responded to this year’s survey, about 20 percent of those who were asked to respond, according to the survey. The majority of responders—more than 94 percent—were for-profit operators.

The most striking numbers in last week’s survey demonstrated high turnover among assisted living communities. Nationwide, the turnover rate is north of 33 percent, the study said. Broken down by employee categories, the numbers show that:

• Department heads had a turnover rate of more than 31 percent;
• CNAs had turnover rates near 37 percent;
• The turnover rate for licensed practical nurses (LPNs) was more than 37 percent;
• Registered nurses (RNs) had a turnover rate of more than 39 percent; and
• Marketing staff saw a turnover rate above 48 percent.

The high turnover left vacancy rates among frontline workers at around 10 percent, the survey showed. RN positions were left open for nearly 33 days on average, LPN positions were open for more than 20 days on average, while CNA positions were left open for 19 days on average, the survey found.

Hoping to stop the bleeding, more than 47 percent of homes offered recruitment bonuses averaging $868, the study found.

Nearly 49 percent offered tuition reimbursement averaging $1,657; nearly 32 percent offered retention bonuses averaging $225 each, the study said. Nearly 55 percent of facilities offered unpaid “staff recognition programs,” and nearly 29 percent offered unpaid “mentoring” programs. 

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