Many Employees of Nursing Homes Have Been Convicted of a Crime.

March 9, 2011

Nursing homes are difficult places of employment. Administrators count themselves lucky to be fully staffed, given the paltry wages and hard work. Are you, then, surprised to learn that the backgrounds of prospective workers are not painstakingly researched? The fact that former prisoners usually can’t get hired by most employers easily validates a study finding a high portion of ex-criminals are workers in long-term care institutions. The report, issued by the Department of Health & Human Services, came as no surprise to Dr. Joshua Wiener of RTI International, who specializes in long-term care. Dr. Wiener explained that an hourly wage of approximately $10 made the job unattractive to prospective workers with better options.

Acknowledging the problem, health care reform is allocating $160 million to assist with criminal background checks.



2 Responses to Many Employees of Nursing Homes Have Been Convicted of a Crime.

  1. Jeff Forbes on July 8, 2011 at 2:12 am

    We do background checks on all our prospective employees. This is often written into our contracts with health plans. What I struggle with is “when is a debt paid?” or is an individual condemned for life for one bad move maybe when they were young and stupid. What if a conviction were wrong – as was the case with many of the death penalty cases in Illinios? Do we continue to deny someone work. This whole background check has been accepted without critical review. I think it is a civil rights lawsuit waiting to happen. Ironically, many call for background checks … but it stops there. As hiring organizations we then sit as judge and jury to determine if what shows up on the report means a denial of work. The whole things smells badly. It assumes no one is rehabiliated. If so, why let anyone out of jail.

    • Claudia on July 10, 2011 at 7:05 am

      Jeff, thanks for your feedback. I agree that if a prospective employee passes a thorough — and effective — background check, and if someone with a criminal record has no history of violence, then she may be considered. It would depend upon a lot of factors, including what the individual has done with her life since being released, the number of convictions, and her behavior while incarcerated, among other circumstances. But yes, a person with a criminal record would be closely scrutinized as an applicant. If there was any violence in her past, I would not consider her at all. The elderly, disabled and convalescing are just too vulnerable.

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