The American Health Care Association/National Center for Assisted Living (AHCA/NCAL) released a recent survey of nursing home and assisted living providers that shows the urgent need to invest in the long term care workforce, specifically to help recruit and retain staff.The survey found a number of key trends, according to AHCA/NCAL, including:

• Ninety-four percent of nursing home providers said they have had a shortage of staff members in the past month. In assisted living communities, 81 percent said they had similar staffing shortages.

• More than half of nursing home and assisted living providers lost key members of their staff last year during the pandemic due to workers quitting, including among certified nurse assistants (CNAs) or direct caregivers and dietary staff.

• Close to 75 percent of nursing homes and nearly 60 percent of assisted living communities said their overall workforce situation has gotten worse since 2020.

• Eighty-one percent of nursing home providers and 75 percent of assisted living communities stated that higher reimbursement to offer better staff pay and benefits would help improve the facility’s ability to recruit and retain staff members.

“The survey results clearly indicate that the long term care workforce is facing serious challenges, and our country must make significant investments to help address these shortfalls,” said Mark Parkinson, AHCA/NCAL president and chief executive officer.

“Lawmakers across the country must prioritize long term care to ensure the profession has the necessary resources to maintain a strong workforce. This begins with addressing chronic underfunding of Medicaid for nursing homes, which currently only covers 70 to 80 percent of the cost of care. We have laid out proposals in our Care For Our Seniors Act that would enable our providers to address staffing shortages, but without help from Congress and state legislators, this will not be possible.”

He added that the association and its members look forward to working with federal and state governments to ensure every facility has the ability to recruit and retain the necessary staff to ensure its residents receive the level of care they need and deserve.

“Caregivers are the backbone of nursing homes and assisted living communities, and we need to make sure they are being adequately supported so they can provide the highest quality care to our elderly population,” Parkinson said.

A one-page executive summary of the survey can be found HERE.