Nursing homes struggled during the pandemic to keep residents and their staffs safe from contracting the coronavirus. Now, the facilities are facing a new challenge: widespread staff shortages.
A survey released on Wednesday by the American Health Care Association and National Center for Assisted Living found nearly all of its members polled have been short staffed in the last month. At the same time, more than half of nursing homes and assisted living providers have lost staff members due to workers quitting, including certified nursing assistants or direct caregivers.
And nearly 75% of nursing homes have said their overall situation with their workforce has worsened in 2021 compared to last year.
The survey is a sign the nursing home and assisted living sector is not unlike other jobs in the emerging post-pandemic economy. Employers have reported difficulties in filling jobs as more businesses and public gathering spaces reopen.
The group pointed to the need for federal legislation to boost aid for the facilities and their workforces along the way.
“The survey results clearly indicate that the long term care workforce is facing serious challenges, and our country must make significant investments to help address these shortfalls,” stated Mark Parkinson, president and CEO of AHCA/NCAL. “Lawmakers across the country must prioritize long term care to ensure the profession has the necessary resources to maintain a strong workforce. This begins with addressing chronic underfunding of Medicaid for nursing homes, which currently only covers 70 to 80% of the cost of care.”