Short-staffing because of low wages, poor working conditions, and lack of benefits affect the level of quality of care residents receive in nursing homes. Caregivers want and deserve more. The industry refuses to increases wages for certified nurse aides who perform 95% of the direct or custodial care of the residents.
Staffing shortages have grown at many nursing homes and adult care facilities. High turnover because of unsafe conditions–lack of PPE, unvaccinated co-workers, and lack of health insurance-lead to resignations. A vaccine mandate for healthcare workers would alleviate some concerns.
The American Health Care Association and the National Center for Assisted Living are lobbying groups for the nursing home industry. Their own analysis admits that facilities staff at unsafe levels. Nationally, there’s been a 14% drop in nursing home staffing levels in the last year, and an 8% drop in staffing levels at assisted care facilities. This is unacceptable and unsafe.
South Carolina suffer from short-staffing. AARP Dashboard shows:
Frances Messer is the president of the North Carolina Assisted Living Association. She recently said:
“We’re in a crisis. We’re in a staffing crisis. And it affects not just the folks who are working and providing services, it affects those residents who need a place to go.”
Messer said some facilities raised wages and provided some health benefits. Too little, too late. The nursing homes cannot convince caregivers to work in unsafe conditions with no living wage. The low Medicaid reimbursement rates is part of the problem. Greedy operators is another.