Nursing home and assisted living organization sounds alert about staffing shortages

chart showing that staffing levels at nursing homes and assisted living facilities have not rebounded since the beginning of the pandemicChart provided by AHCA/NCAL

Despite the widely publicized school tax exemption for seniors in Cobb County, and despite the number of Residential Senior Living ((RSL) projects that come before the Planning Commission and Board of Commissioners, Cobb is a county with a relatively young median age.

By 2019 estimates Cobb has a median income of 36.7 years. That means there are as many people younger than that age as there are older.

But we still have a large number of seniors, and with that comes the reality that nursing homes and assisted living facilities are a critical part of our county, not just for seniors, but for many people with disabilities.

The American Health Care Association and National Center for Assisted Living (AHCA/NCAL) found that on a nationwide basis the staffing in nursing homes and assisted living facilities has dropped by 221,000, or 14 percent of total employment, since the beginning of the pandemic.

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The organization released a report last week that found that long-term care facilities have suffered a worse labor crisis than any other sector of the health care industry.

Mark Parkinson, president and CEO of AHCA/NCAL said, “As many caregivers are getting burned out by the pandemic, workers are leaving the field for jobs in other health care settings or other industries altogether.”

“Chronic Medicaid underfunding, combined with the billions of dollars providers have spent to fight the pandemic, have left long-term care providers struggling to compete for qualified staff,” he said. “We desperately need the help of policymakers to attract and retain more caregivers, so that our nation’s most vulnerable have access to the long-term care they need.”

According to a press release issued by the AHCA/NCAL:

AHCA/NCAL released a survey of long term care providers earlier this year showing that the labor crisis is worsening and impacting access to care for vulnerable seniors:
 

  • 86% of nursing homes and 77% of assisted living providers said their workforce situation has gotten worse in recent months
  • 58 percent of nursing homes are limiting new admissions
  • 78 percent of nursing homes and 61 percent of assisted living communities are concerned workforce challenges might force them to close
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