How Changing Dining Room Chairs Can Reduce Your Human Resources Workload

ComforTek logoWith the staffing challenges facing the senior care industry, senior care community human resources (HR) departments face unprecedented challenges regarding staff recruitment and retention. Absenteeism, such as when staff must take time off because of a workplace injury, further strains HR departments.

Our previous article highlighted how improving dining room chairs could reduce maintenance and administrative burdens. In this article, we explore the effects that improved dining room chairs can have on HR departments.

How Dining Room Chairs Contribute to Staff Absenteeism

The traditional dining room chairs used in senior care community dining rooms aren’t designed to move. That’s a problem when staff must help residents with limited mobility up to and away from a table. With residents seated, staff are left to push, pull, and shove the chairs into place.

Randy Schellenberg

Randy Schellenberg, president of ComforTek

That process is physically demanding on staff, and it can lead to injuries and absenteeism. It’s also exhausting, and when performed repeatedly each day, it can take an emotional toll on caregivers. “Employees have the right to go home feeling good about themselves, and they can’t be physically, emotionally, and mentally exhausted,” says Randy Schellenberg, president of ComforTek. “By reducing the physical demands of caregivers, we prevent injuries and reduce stress and anxiety for both the seated person and the caregiver.”

ComforTek accomplishes this by designing dining room chairs for safe movement. The T2 Series of chairs is available with features including a swivel and lock function, the ability to roll, and brakes. The Chair Caddie is an after-market device that communities can purchase to retrofit their existing dining room chairs. The Caddie attaches to the base of the chair, giving caregivers the ability to easily roll the chair across the floor. Built-in brakes help ensure safe operation and prevent the chair from rolling without a caregiver maneuvering it.

Being able to easily move seated residents to and away from dining room tables reduces the physical demands on staff and may help prevent injuries. As a result, HR staff can spend less time finding and onboarding replacement caregivers to fill in shifts. They can instead focus on other responsibilities and the community can provide better continuity of care to its residents.

How Senior Care Communities Can Help Reduce Staff Burnout and Turnover

By giving caregivers chairs that support their responsibilities, caregivers can better do their jobs. “[ComforTek products] allow the caregiver to center the patient’s care so they can easily get the seated person to the table and provide any emotional or social bonding,” says Schellenberg. Doing so allows the caregiver to foster those important emotional bonds with residents, making caregiving a more rewarding and fulfilling experience for staff. Caregivers can focus more on the residents and less on the physical demands of moving them to and from the table.

Senior care communities may experience lower staff burnout and turnover rates. That’s particularly important, given that the National Council of State Boards of Nursing’s 2023 study revealed that around 100,000 registered nurses left the workforce during the past two years due to workplace burnout and stress.

By reducing burnout and staff turnover, senior care communities can reduce the time HR staff must dedicate to hiring and onboarding new staff. This can reduce the HR workload and save communities significant money. According to the 2023 NSI National Health Care Retention & RN Staffing Report, the average cost of turnover for one staff RN was $52,350, though the actual range averaged $40,200 to $64,500.

How Senior Care Communities Can Access a New Hire Pool

In light of senior care staffing shortages, access to a new hire pool greatly benefits senior care communities. Using ComforTek products greatly reduces the physical demands of caregiving in the dining room. While caregivers must be physically strong to maneuver residents seated in traditional dining room chairs, ComforTek’s wheeled products are far easier to move.

As a result, senior care communities could access a new hire pool: Retirees. “You can open up your community to a whole new group of retirees that may be interested in coming back to work,” explains Schellenberg. “By reducing the physical demands of caregivers, you also provide the staff with a better home-life balance.”

How Dining Room Chairs Impact Senior Care Communities

The impact of dining room chairs on senior care is widespread. Not only can improving the chairs reduce maintenance and administrative burdens, but it can also help to reduce the human resources workload. In the coming articles, we’ll explore chairs’ effects on caregivers and residents.

Topics: Facility management , Featured Articles , Housing , Risk Management