January 28, 2022

Nursing Home Staff Shortage Worsens as the Pandemic Continues

Staff members of nursing homes across the country continue to quit in droves as a result of low wages and poor working conditions during the pandemic.

Poor working conditions and lack of COVID-19 protections in long term care facilities have pushed many staffers to retire early or look for employment elsewhere. Some workers have left in search of higher-paying jobs with more benefits. Low and minimum-wage positions constitute a substantial amount of the nursing home workforce.

Nursing home leaders and unions representing nursing home staff expect the shortages to continue even as the Omicron variant wanes. Community college enrollment in skilled nursing courses has dropped to half the level it was before the pandemic. Of those still training to be nursing assistants, many are opting for higher-paying work as travel nurses or home health aides rather than positions within nursing homes.

The shortage of nursing home workers also signals trouble for America’s aging population. By the year 2030, all 70 million members of the Baby Boomer generation will be over the age of 65.

Without appropriate levels of staff in the nation’s long term care facilities, seniors could face lower standards of care and a lack of available nursing home beds.

“We already know some important things we can do as a country to protect America’s nursing home labor force,” said Robert Roach, Jr., President of the Alliance. “Better wages and better working conditions will keep nursing homes well-staffed for years to come.”

“Allowing more seniors to receive the care they need at home, as proposed in the Build Back Better Act, is part of the solution,” President Roach added.

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