Staffing Algorithm Contributing to Worker Shortage at Brookdale per Washington Post Report

Staffing Algorithm Contributing to Worker Shortage at Brookdale per Washington Post Report

Raising revenue. Reducing costs. Scaling operations. While common jargon when speaking in corporate America, these sterile phrases are not typical top priorities touted by senior living communities. But, with rising operating costs and a rapidly growing aging population, senior living providers have had to adopt and create technology to sustain and grow operations.

Today, several of the largest and most prominent senior living brands in Los Angeles, specifically Brookdale Senior Living, are facing lawsuits from residents and their families due to overreliance on these technologies. In an article earlier this month in the Washington Post, an algorithm-based tool used to allocate community staffing was specifically cited in being responsible for creating unsafe and unsanitary conditions, and for failing to capture the human nuances of senior care.

What's causing the understaffing?

Families and community managers alike have complained of understaffing due to this system for years. And while our local Los Angeles-area community managers say they have the flexibility to deviate, in other areas of the country some have faced penalties and even termination for hiring outside the algorithm’s recommendation. Horror stories from other locations now heading to litigation include residents living in feces, going without regular checks, suffering falls unsupervised, and going days without eating with no staff intervention.

Technology has an important place in enabling best-in-class care, especially in large and senior-friendly cities like Los Angeles. Local communities face scaling operations while contending with a booming senior population, high cost of living, expensive real estate, and higher-than-average minimum wages. 

But, senior care is not a case for automation. Human insight is essential when caring for a family’s loved ones, navigating complex health conditions, and creating communities that feel like home as seniors transition to community living. 

The algorithm that powers the technology under fire was developed over twenty years ago by timing community staff with stopwatches as they completed their daily tasks. Everything from transporting residents to meals to giving showers to cleaning rooms was measured. That data was used to develop an algorithm that could predict how many minutes of care each resident will need, and how many staff members you’ll need to provide that care.

While the technology provides insight and guidance to community managers, it doesn’t capture the often evolving needs of seniors. And understaffing has a serious impact on the quality of care provided and can lead to real consequences for residents. Community managers must be empowered to allocate resources appropriately for their community. 

Navigating Los Angeles Options

While these issues persist in some communities, there are still many in Los Angeles that are staffed appropriately, without these types of complaints. Senior placement advisors are experts in cutting through the clutter online to make the right choice for your family.

By partnering with a senior living advisor as you navigate this transition for your loved ones, you’ll have a trusted advocate with local expertise who can cut through the clutter of misinformation to reveal the good, the bad, and the ugly. We’re the local experts on all things senior living - we have established relationships with trusted Los Angeles, Beverly Hills, and San Fernando Valley community managers to ensure we’re recommending the best care for your loved ones.

Read the full Washington Post article here.

About Assisted Living Locators

Since 2003, thousands of families have been helped by Assisted Living Locators, one of the nation’s leading free senior living placement services. The Los Angeles office is operated by Sarah Ordover, owner of Assisted Living Locators Los Angeles. Her team services clients from Glendale and Burbank to Santa Monica, including West Hollywood, Century City, Westwood, and everything in between. The office also represents clients looking for senior living south of Ventura Boulevard in the San Fernando Valley in neighborhoods such as Sherman Oaks, Encino, and Studio City. The Los Angeles office can be reached at www.assistedlivinglocatorsla.c... class="Apple-interchange-newline">