Increase Wages, Provide Benefits.

MarketWatch had a great article about the nursing home industries unsafe staffing problem. Among the reasons for the staffing crisis? Low pay, few benefits, and difficulty getting training. This is especially true for certified nurse aides who provide 95% of the direct care to residents. Hands-on certified nursing assistants do most of the work but earn less than $15 an hour. Turnover in the industry may be as high as 100%. This affects the quality of care.

“The staffing problem is not a new problem,” says Lori Smetanka, executive director of the National Consumer Voice for Quality Long-Term Care, an advocacy group for care residents. “Nursing homes have not had enough staff for decades. The residents are not getting the care that they need when there aren’t enough staff,” she says.

As Robert Reich, the liberal economist, says in his latest Substack column:

“There is no labor shortage. There is, however, a shortage of jobs paying sufficient wages to attract workers to fill job openings. If employers want more workers, they should pay them more.”

Nursing home operators are unable to fill 130,000 staff vacancies. The 1.3 million vulnerable adults are suffering in skilled nursing facilities today. More elderly people need care every day.

“Without staff, there is no care,” says Katie Smith Sloan, CEO of LeadingAge, which represents nonprofit nursing homes. It’s just impossible.” There is, she says, “a dire workforce shortage.”