“The workforce shortage in health care predates the pandemic, but the pandemic shone a bright light on it and made it way worse. Job No. 1 in health care right now … but specifically in nursing homes and assisted living, is workforce development, workforce recruitment and workforce retention.”
–Joe DeMattos, president of the Health Facilities Association of Maryland.
The U.S. DHHS blames low wages, challenging working conditions and the high risk of COVID-19 infection for work shortages. And it warned:
“The COVID-19 pandemic has intensified workforce shortages to crisis conditions, putting the safety and well-being of both vulnerable residents and nursing home staff at risk.”
Staffing challenges impact loved one’s care. Complaints include neglect, abuse, medication delays or insufficient and unsafe hygiene care. The Long Term Care Community Coalition, a nonprofit that tracks nursing home care issues, analyzed federal staffing reports. They found that — in the fourth quarter of 2020 — three in every four U.S. nursing homes failed to meet even the minimum recommended staffing standards.
Skilled Nursing News had an article recently that blamed the low pay and poor working conditions. One-third of health care workers said they’ve considering leaving the industry, according to a Washington Post-Kaiser Family Foundation poll in April. As one recruiter for a national skilled nursing facility said:
“Why work for $15 per hour cleaning up for a resident with incontinence when you can make the same at a McDonald’s or retail store?”