Importance of Background Screening for Hiring Nursing Home Staff

A residential nursing home is one of the most sensitive facilities that offer care to people with disabilities or the elderly. Staff members working in such facilities must be trained professionals to handle people with special needs. Besides professional qualifications, such individuals need to be people of integrity, trust, and who adheres to the code of ethics put in place. Conducting background checks when hiring should be prioritized as it offers several benefits, as discussed below.

1. Meeting Regulatory Requirements

The importance of background screening and background checks on employees is that it helps nursing homes to adhere to federal and state law regulatory requirements. Nursing homes are not required to hire individuals who have a history of violence or any form of neglect against patients. In some states, nursing homes must use FBI background checks before hiring, which is a clear indication of the seriousness that employee screening is in some of the states around the country.

2. Enhanced Safety and Security

The safety of nursing home residents and the entire facility is of paramount importance that demands everyone to be vigilant and careful when hiring. Background checks are necessary as they help filter out applicants who have a history of violence against other individuals. To prevent future abuse and unwanted incidents in the facilities, unearthing every detail, especially on behavioral habits, must be analyzed. Among the behavioral attributes of applicants filtered out include stalking, harassment, domestic violence, and emotional abuse.

3. Prevent Negligent Hiring

Recently, the number of companies that have become liable for negligent hiring has tremendously increased. Studies show that entities that have ignored background checks are now paying harshly for employee’s actions, which could have been prevented. For nursing homes, consequences might be critical as they could involve endangering the health or welfare of the sick or elderly. To prevent negligent hiring in nursing facilities, having sufficient information on the applicant’s past and lawsuits will come in handy.

4. Reduce Alcohol/Drug Abuse

As a matter of organizational principle and practice, most, if not all, nursing homes do not hire employees who use drugs. Hiring such individuals could lead to negligence and other unwanted behaviors when caring for needy patients. Substance abuse screening helps in determining whether such applicants have a history of alcohol or drug abuse. Ensuring that all employees are drug-free in a nursing home helps prevent violence, crime, low productivity, and attitude problems, among others. Noteworthy, most of the drug users have one or more of the behavioral traits highlighted above.

5. Quality Staff Hiring

Like mainstream companies, nursing homes struggle to get quality employees who have met all the necessary regulatory and organizational requirements. There is a need for upcoming talents and experienced staff members in nursing homes. Other personal traits such as honesty, empathy, commitment, and compassion are needed among the employees who work in such facilities. Although background checks may not determine some personal characteristics, employee screening will get quality staff members by analyzing previous experience and overall applicant’s presentation.

Nursing home residents are vulnerable, and most of them require acute care, especially those with serious illnesses such as cognitive diseases and immobility. Every employee working in such facilities needs to be ready and willing to assist when called upon. Conducting background checks will help in getting the right members of staff who will not inflict physical or emotional pain to the residents while at the same time, offering the benefits discussed above.