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How to Overcome These Common Staffing Problems in Your Care Home

Posted by: Lynn Sedgwick

With an ageing population comes an increase in care homes and assisted living arrangements. There are more care home, nursing home and elderly and assisted living provisions in the UK than ever, with this number set to rise over the coming years. It is predicted that 190,000 more older people will require care by 2035 than at present – an 86% increase.

With an increase in the demand for nursing care, organisations are struggling in different ways to find the right number of staff with the required skills.

Many care organisations repeatedly face the same common problems – staff shortages, problems with training, financial difficulties, plus others.

In this article, I want to share how care home managers can identify and overcome some of these common problems that are becoming increasingly present in the sector.

First, let’s take a look at the most prevalent – staffing matters.


Increasing Staff Shortages

Perhaps the main problem that the care and nursing home managers and business owners come to us with is a severe shortage of staff.

In particular, there is a real shortage of RGNs and experienced Care Home Managers currently in the UK. The nursing bursary was removed in 2016, leading to a sharp drop in people enrolling on nursing courses. It was reintroduced in late 2019, but for the three years in between, the low number of nurses electing to train has damaged the sector’s infrastructure.

Additionally, many overseas workers who were once attracted to the UK nursing sector have been dissuaded due to Brexit restrictions. In the year after the referendum, the number of new EU registrations to the Nursing and Midwifery Council (NMC) fell from 10,000 to 1,000.

As a nursing recruiter, the advice I have for organisations is to look in different places for your staff and be more open-minded about your criteria. Even if your care home is based in the North West, you can advertise further afield to attract candidates from across the UK.

Working with a dedicated nursing and care recruiter will help enormously, as they find suitable candidates that you would not be able to locate on your own.


More Unskilled Candidates

Again, this is a similar issue and one that many care homes experience.

You advertise for staff, and you get many applicants, but many of them are not suitably skilled. The recruiting process is lengthy, and at the end of it, you are still left with a shortfall of staff because the applicants were not suitable.

My recruiting advice here is this – focus on immediate and robust training for new and unskilled candidates, where possible. When you create an opportunity for previously unskilled carers to train quickly on the job, you open your options up to a broader range of people.


Continued HR Issues

HR problems are increasingly common in the care sector, to varying degrees and for different reasons.

Because there are so many care vacancies currently, this attracts a range of people to apply for them. Unfortunately, being a carer is not something that anyone can do – it takes a particular type of person.

Many people take on caring jobs and then quickly realise they aren’t cut out for it. This leads to unplanned absences and worse – procedural and conduct issues.

Even if you are currently ‘fully staffed’, when you are continually battling with HR issues, it can feel like you are just treading water.

The only way to operate a care organisation with minimal HR issues is to employ the best staff. And by this, I mean employees who are passionate about their work, know they’re in the right job and care about every resident and the goals of the business. To achieve this, don’t rush your recruitment and make sure you have a water-tight hiring and onboarding process, which only delivers you the best candidates.


Short and Long Term Staffing Solutions

Finally, I want to mention the difference between the two main types of staffing issues – short and long term.

Short-term staffing problems are caused by the issues I raised above; employees not turning up for their shift, new employees leaving their positions with little (or no) notice, and they usually apply to HCA and caring roles. These are the jobs which appear to be easier to fill but can cause problems when you re having to hire again and again for the same position.

Long term vacancies happen when you have a shortage of staff in more senior roles, such as registered nurses and Care Home Managers – both of these positions are in short supply in the UK, and they can have severe impacts on the level of care you can provide when these positions stay empty for extended periods.

To overcome both short and long term staffing problems in your care home, working with a recruiter on a long-term basis is your best option.

When you create a robust recruitment partnership with your agency of choice, you are always in supply of staff, and your recruiting partner will understand and anticipate your organisation’s needs.


Then Finally

At Clayton Recruitment, we help care homes in the North West find the staff they need to deliver gold-standard care continually. If you would like to know more about how we can help you recruit the team you need, talk to us today.





Clayton Recruitment has been partnering with organisations across the country since 1989, and during that time has built up an excellent reputation for trust and reliability.

With specialist divisions covering Commercial, Financial, Industrial, Nursing, and Engineering appointments, on both a permanent and temporary basis. If you are looking for your next career move, we can help. Call us on 01772 259 121 or email us here.

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