The Atlanta Journal Constitution reported that nursing homes across Georgia and South Carolina are suffering widespread staffing shortages. Nursing homes often had unsafe staffing before the pandemic but the situation worsened as working conditions prompted workers to leave the industry.
Katie Smith Sloan is CEO of LeadingAge, a national organization that represents 5,000 nonprofit aging services providers. Sloan warns:
“From our perspective, we are in a crisis. What that means is the staff who are left are exhausted. They are working probably longer shifts with little relief. What it also means is that there are a lot of people who aren’t able to access care when they need it. We have a growing number of underserved older adults in need of services and supports. That’s a huge problem.”
Georgia has the fourth-lowest staffing level nationally for aides and nurses, according to The Atlanta Journal-Constitution. The AJC found more than 1 in 4 Georgia nursing homes earns a 1-star rating — the lowest — for staffing levels under the federal government’s quality rating system.
If staffing is short, care can suffer. The staffing crisis will continue unless or until the corporate operators increase pay, provide training and benefits, and appreciate the caregivers. Residents must wait too long for bathroom assistance. Staff can’t respond to calls for help. Meals and medications are delayed. Those who need assistance with activities of daily living do not get it.