The first step is to consider what model works best for your type of community.
If you have an assisted living community in need of a dietitian to create or sign-off on menus and to review your resident’s diet plans, the best approach is to hire a dietitian consultant who will be available for a few hours each quarter.
Skilled Nursing facilities will require dietitian hours depending on the size of the community and routine number of admissions.
Smaller communities may only need a dietitian for 8 to 16 hours a week to ensure nutritional care. In this case, hiring a dietitian consultant would meet your needs and be affordable.
However, a large building with more acute care residents may require a full-time dietitian and a full-time employee who is always available may be the best solution.
Most communities fall somewhere in-between and can be served by either an in-house dietitian or a dietitian consultant.
The second step is to evaluate costs
Recruitment, Hiring, Onboarding
Recruiting and hiring a dietitian typically takes an average of 42 days incurring costs such as advertising, hourly salary for in-house hiring team, onboarding and training, and background checks. According to the Society of Human Resources and Management, such hiring costs average $4,129.
When you hire a dietitian consulting company, that company incurs the recruiting, training and hiring costs.
Salary and Ongoing Costs
A full-time dietitian employee receives a salary along with a benefits package that is typically 30% of the base, costing a total of 80,000 per year. You may also incur additional costs such as salary raises, replacement of employee if necessary, or hiring a temporary dietitian for maternity or sick leave.
The second approach which works well for small to mid-sized communities is to hire a registered dietitian consultant who is a part-time contractor typically working 24 hours a week. Although the hourly rate may be higher than an employee, without the extra costs mentioned above, typically this model will cost just over $60,000 per year. Because such dietitian consulting services have a number of consultants on staff, there is never a lapse in coverage due to illness or extenuating circumstances.
Other considerations when deciding between hiring an employee or dietitian consultant
A dietitian consulting firm like BSN Solutions also offers a team of experienced senior consultants who can provide expert support to the consultant in your building to meet any challenges that may arise.
Consultant dietitians from companies specializing in long-term care can immediately be productive members of your team, avoiding any need for additional training.