The American Health Care Association and National Center for Assisted Living (AHCA/NCAL) have released a survey of nursing home and assisted living providers across the United States. Results from the survey highlight an urgent need for Congress to address the labor shortage facing the long term care industry. 

Key findings include:

• Eighty-six percent of nursing homes and 77 percent of assisted living providers said their workforce situation has gotten worse over the past three months.

• Nearly every nursing home (99 percent) and assisted living facility (96 percent) in the United States is facing a staffing shortage. Fifty-nine percent of nursing homes and nearly one-third of assisted living providers are experiencing a high level of staffing shortages.

• More than 7 out of 10 nursing homes and assisted living communities said a lack of qualified candidates and unemployment benefits have been the biggest obstacles in hiring new staff.

• Due to these shortages, nearly every nursing home and assisted living community is asking staff to work overtime or extra shifts. Nearly 70 percent of nursing homes are having to hire expensive agency staff. Fifty-eight percent of nursing homes are limiting new admissions.

• Seventy-eight percent of nursing homes and 71 percent of assisted living facilities are concerned workforce challenges might force them to close. More than one-third of nursing homes are very concerned about having to shut down their facility(ies).

“The survey demonstrates the severe workforce challenges long term care providers are facing due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Too many facilities are struggling to hire and retain staff that are needed to serve millions of vulnerable residents,” said Mark Parkinson, AHCA/NCAL president and chief executive officer.

“Lawmakers across the country must prioritize long term care, and that begins with providing resources to address workforce challenges. When facilities have the means to offer competitive wages and training programs, workers will follow,” he said. “We have laid out key proposals in our Care for Our Seniors Act that will allow us to boost our workforce, but without the help from Congress and state legislators, this will not be possible.”

Parkinson said the reconciliation package currently under construction is an appropriate vehicle for Congress to fund a long-term solution to address chronic staffing shortages in nursing homes and other long term care facilities.

“Congress has the opportunity right now, through budget reconciliation, to include meaningful investments in long term care, which will help address key staffing challenges,” he said.

“Our caregivers are the backbone of long term care, and they deserve the full support of our lawmakers. We cannot allow facilities to close because of these challenges, which will directly impact residents and their families, especially when lawmakers have the means to help solve this dire situation.”

Survey results can be found HERE.