An Assisted Living Facility’s Guide To Finding The Right Healthcare Staff

Did you know that the proportion and number of retiring people are increasing? In 2019, the number of seniors reached a billion and is expected to more than double in 2050. According to the Administration for Community Living, seven out of 10 seniors will need assisted living care in their lifetime. In fact, in the US, over 800,000 seniors are already residing in these facilities.

The assisted living industry is expected to boom in order to accommodate more residents in the next 10 to 20 years. A report reveals that the US alone will need a million new senior living units by 2040 to accommodate the increasing population of aging adults.

Whether you’re starting in the senior assisted living business or already have an established facility, you know how important it is to have the right healthcare staff. They’re the face of your business and will be your front-door representatives to the residents, their families, and the surrounding community.

Thus, you must take proper measures when filling roles in your assisted living facility. This article highlights important tips and strategies for finding the right healthcare staff who will take care of your clients.

1. Understand Your Staffing Needs

In recent years, almost all businesses in the healthcare industry, including assisted living communities, faced some kind of staff shortage. According to the American Health Care Association (AHCA) and National Center for Assisted Living (NCAL), over 95% of assisted living facilities reported being short-staffed in 2021.

It can be overwhelming to start your search when it feels like you need more for every role. However, it’s essential to prioritize. Determine which part or department of your facility is overworked or hurting the most right now. You can conduct staff surveys to help you understand which roles are badly needed so you can focus your efforts.

Regardless of which roles you choose, you want to pick people with the right qualifications, training, and continuing education to stay compliant with healthcare regulations.

If you’re new to the assisted living facility industry, here are the types of healthcare employees you could have on your payroll:


For larger assisted living facilities, you may need to hire a geriatrician to manage the overall healthcare needs of residents. Geriatricians are primary care doctors with an additional one to two years of education and training in treating seniors and older adults.

Geriatric doctors have the experience and training needed to address complex and multiple health matters of seniors and their specialized care.

Registered Nurses

Registered nurses (RNs) are one of the most important individuals you need in an assisted living facility. And yet, you don’t often find them in these facilities, especially smaller ones, since they’re mostly employed in hospital settings.

RNs hold a degree or diploma that allows professional practice in the healthcare setting. They need to pass all exams and licensing requirements in the specific state they wish to practice in.

Their primary job involves assisting doctors or providing direct medical care when they can. In assisted living facilities, RNs oversee the nursing assistants and check on residents.

Skilled Nursing Providers

Like registered nurses, skilled nursing providers (SNPs) need to have the right state licensing requirements and meet federal standards for health and safety. SNPs are more commonly employed in assisted living facilities than RNs. They undergo years of education and training to offer direct medical care that other professionals below this category can’t provide.

Their training has equipped them with skills in administering shots and drugs, caring for patients with chronic illnesses like diabetes, changing wound dressings, providing education for both patient and caregiver, and other medical care tasks.

Some SNPs have added skills to enhance their credentials. Thus, it’s common to see a nursing provider with extra skills or training in physical, occupational, and speech therapy.

Licensed Or Certified Nursing Assistants

Like the previous roles, a licensed nursing assistant (LNA) or certified nursing assistant (CNA) requires a certification level to practice. The personal care provided by CNAs and LNAs is vital to the welfare of residents in an assisted living facility.

As the name of their role implies, they assist skilled nursing providers and registered nurses. They’re often tasked with common personal care duties, including assisting with mobility, toileting, bathing, and dressing senior residents. These experts are also well-versed in setting up medical equipment, treating infections, and providing intensive health care to patients.

Furthermore, they help monitor patients’ symptoms and vitals and are trained to watch for health changes. LNAs and CNAs are also required to report any concerns that could compromise patient welfare and safety to their managing skilled nursing providers and registered nurses. Also, if there’s any medical procedure to be performed, LNAs and CNAs can assist RNs and SNPs in getting that done.


Facilities are also mandated to hire a full-time registered dietitian (RD) or certified dietary manager with a qualified consulting dietitian. A dietitian should have complete education and training to properly identify and plan the unique dietary needs of the residents.

If you want to cut costs, you don’t have to employ a dietitian full-time, but you have to ensure your director of food services regularly consults with a certified dietitian.

Home Health Aides

Home health aides (HHAs) should be certified and trained before they can get into the healthcare industry. In general, their job description is mostly similar to licensed or certified nursing assistants. This means they also help with senior residents’ daily routines, such as using the bathroom, bathing, and dressing. Also, HHAs are trained to check and monitor patients’ vitals and observe their condition.

Personal Care Assistants

Lastly, you may need several personal care assistants (PCAs). Typically, PCAs are not certified but should have experience and knowledge in taking care of seniors. This often depends on the number of years they’ve spent in the industry.

PCAs are companions and assistants to the elderly. Their job role often involves engaging residents in conversations, joining them for walks, providing transportation for appointments, and helping with their shopping and general hygiene.

2. Find Those With Experience

Finding the Right Healthcare Staff

It’s not always a bad idea to hire new graduates or less experienced healthcare workers since you can train and develop them into the best-skilled personnel you’re looking for. However, there are numerous advantages to choosing professionals with experience in this industry.

Also, depending on your assisted living facility’s level of assistance as well as the local and state regulations about the certifications and training of your healthcare staff, it’s best to err on the side of caution by hiring more qualified and experienced professionals from the start.

You probably have limited funds if you’ve just established your facility. In that case, don’t hire people with decades of experience since they will cost you more than those with the right qualifications but only have a few years of experience under their belt.

3. Look For Professionals Outside Your Industry

It’s best to find healthcare workers with experience in this industry whenever possible. Understandably, most assisted living providers hesitate from recruiting employees outside their niche industries. However, you shouldn’t limit your choices and options for hiring the right healthcare staff.

For instance, you may be inclined to scout and recruit a registered nurse from a different senior living facility since they already possess the necessary skill sets instead of recruiting RNs who worked years in a clinic or hospital emergency setting. Nevertheless, it’s possible to teach someone senior living-specific tasks. This training often pays off in terms of employee satisfaction and loyalty.

So, think of all possible places where you can recruit healthcare professionals to work in your facility.

4. Make Sure To Have A Strong Web Presence

In this increasingly digital world, assisted living facility providers shouldn’t forget about their web presence. In particular, you need to pay close attention to social media platforms.

If you’ve managed to build a community on these social sites, it’s best to make a separate careers page that caters to job seekers. This way, when a potential client goes to your social media site, you showcase your services and provide value instead of letting them know that you’re hiring six certified nursing assistants and two registered nurses, or anything like that.

In addition, you should also check company review sites. Keeping an eye on these websites is vital in managing your online reputation and ensuring that it doesn’t scare away potential employees.

5. Consider Partnering With A Specialized Employment Agency

If you don’t have the time to focus on the recruitment process, you may consider working with specialized organizational employment services.

These agencies can give you referrals to the right people for the job. The main benefit of employment agencies is that they conduct a thorough screening to ensure that potential recruits meet the necessary qualifications and certifications. In addition, some employment agencies may also offer worker training as well as on-the-job supervision.


The success of your assisted living facility will depend on two things – the passion and creative ideas you have and the great people who’ll help you implement them. While assisted living communities may have unique challenges in terms of hiring, we hope that this comprehensive guide can help you find and choose the right people who will propel your assisted living facility to success.

Leave a Comment