Dan Miller of the Patriot-News wrote an interesting article about Harry Accor who runs a temporary staffing agency that provides nurses, practical nurses and certified nursing assistants to fill employment gaps in nursing homes. Accor’s agency, Care Corps LLC, provides temporary staffing to 16 nursing homes from Lancaster and York to Philadelphia.
Care Corps has 89 employees. As part of his expansion in this region, Accor expects to hire 55 to 70 licensed practical nurses, 15 registered nurses and more nursing assistants. He previously worked as a nurse through various agencies, but the experience was frustrating and the work sporadic. Agencies sent him to homes he hadn’t been to before, where he didn’t know the staff or patients.
Accor said the nurses and nursing assistants his agency places in nursing homes are Care Corps employees and not independent contractors. Care Corps offers benefits and tuition assistance. These measures make his work force more stable providing stability at nursing homes where staffing shortages are always a problem.
The use of temporary staffing agencies by nursing homes is a sensitive subject. Accor would not identify any nursing homes to which his agency, Care Corps, provides staffing. He said those homes don’t want people to get the impression that they are experiencing staffing problems.
Almost all nursing homes have difficulty keeping adequate staff, especially because of high turnover among nursing aides who might not make much more than minimum wage, said Nicholas Castle, an associate professor at the Graduate School of Public Health at the University of Pittsburgh. Castle’s own research has found a link between lower quality and nursing homes that rely heavily on temporary staffing. High use of temporary staffing can be an indicator of more significant issues at a home, running the whole way through top management, Castle said.
Nursing homes also typically pay a higher wage to nurses and aides from agencies, in return for agency staff being quickly available at the home’s convenience, Castle said. This can lead to a vicious cycle, by making it more difficult for nursing homes to increase wages and benefits and reduce the staff turnover that leads to use of the staffing agencies.