A nursing home is a great place for your loved ones to live. They provide excellent opportunities to socialize, stay active and be cared for by professionals. As with the majority of healthcare related services, nursing home budgets are being squeezed due to government cuts and increased operating expenses. For nursing homes to provide a high standard of care, it is imperative for them to have all staffing vacancies filled. Unfortunately, hiring standards have been reduced to keep all vacancies filled. Due to this pressure, CBS News cited a government report which found that over 90% of nursing homes hired employees with criminal conviction records.

Apparently a government agency ran background checks on all employees who worked at some 260 nursing homes on June 1, 2009, and found 92 percent employed at least one person with a criminal conviction. The report also found that nearly half of the nursing homes had five or more individuals employed who had criminal convictions.

In another report, by the Inspector General for Health and Human Services, revealed seven registered sex offenders were gainfully employed at five separate facilities, while 43 percent of the convictions were for crimes including burglary, shoplifting, and writing bad checks.

According to CBS News, 43 states currently require nursing homes to run some kind of criminal background check. However, only 10 states require both a state and FBI background check that would detect convictions in multiple states.

As a consumer reporting agency (CRA), it was disturbing to learn the low level of criminal background screens that are being done. Even worse, the average nursing home facility felt the level of background check they were doing was sufficient because it meets their state requirements. It is vital for a nursing home to know about the person they are about to hire. They will not be able to do that if they only do a statewide search. People travel all over the country and may be convicted of crimes in other states and they would never show up in a single statewide search. That is why Essential Screens would like to see all nursing homes include a nationwide approach to their current background screening practices. Not only will this expanded search look at various courts across the country, it will also provide information from the nationwide sex offender registry. We understand that companies are trying to take the most cost effective approach, but jeopardizing the safety of other employees and residents of nursing homes is not worth it. A basic nationwide search can be added for a minimal cost and can be further expanded as requested.

The easiest way to prevent risk to the nursing home facility, its employees and residents is to have a comprehensive background screening program established for each position in the nursing home. To learn more about background checks contact us.