Short-staffing is nothing new in the nursing home industry but it has gotten worse because now facilities are competing with other job opportunities for low-skilled workers. Axios had a great article discussing the market pressure affecting the staffing shortages in nursing homes. The demand for workers requires the industry to increase compensation. Hopefully, to a living wage.
Skilled nursing and assisted living facilities can’t find caregivers because they fail to pay a living wage. The industry uses signing bonuses, free meals, transportation and other perks to entice people to work in long-term care. The industry always suffered a high employee turnover for its lower-skilled jobs.
The Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) projects home health and personal care aide workforce will grow more than 20% by 2029, the highest in any industry. However, the latest labor reports show that the health care sector lost over 21,000 nursing home and residential care jobs in 2021. President Biden has proposed $400 billion to expand access to home care and has advocated for home-care worker unions and higher wages.
The American Health Care Association and National Center for Assisted Living have been lobbying Congress for help to finance more long-term solutions like providing student loan forgiveness, developing assistance programs for affordable housing and childcare and providing scholarships for non-medical caregivers to help become registered nurses.