Last Updated on June 28, 2023
The ongoing workforce shortage affects every healthcare provider, but no organizations have been hit harder than long-term care. According to a recent report described as “grim” by John Hall at McKnight’s Long-Term Care News, nursing homes are in crisis, operating at their lowest staffing levels since 1994. How can industry leaders best respond to the persistent staffing shortages in long-term care?
Long-Term Care Workforce Issues: The Crisis That Won’t End
Why are nursing homes and other long-term care facilities experiencing staffing shortages? It will come as no surprise to industry leaders that the shortage of workers facing the long-term care industry is worse than ever, even as the rest of the healthcare industry has begun to stabilize. According to the July 2022 Long Term Care Jobs Report, it will take long-term care facilities another four years to recover at the current rate.
While hospitals, physicians’ offices, outpatient care centers, and other health care facilities have nearly reached or surpassed pre-pandemic staffing levels, long-term care facilities are still experiencing substantial job losses.– American Health Care Association and National Center for Assisted Living
Issued by the American Health Care Association and National Center for Assisted Living (AHCA/NCAL), the report found that, despite “modest gains in recent months,” nursing homes are still operating at a net loss of 223,700 fewer employees than the beginning of the pandemic. This equates to a loss of “14.1% of its total workforce.”
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This crisis means that the number of nursing home employees is at its lowest level since 1994. In addition, the larger long-term care industry, which also includes residential care facilities, isn’t doing much better. Residential care facilities lost more than 362,000 employees since the pandemic began, operating with their smallest workforce since 2008.
“Staffing shortages have led 6 in 10 facilities to limit new admissions,” writes Hall, adding more context to the situation. “The impact on access to care has a domino effect on other healthcare providers, especially hospitals that are unable to discharge patients when they need to free up space.”
What Approaches Can Facilities Take to Address the Nursing Home Staffing Crisis?
Industry advocates are calling for government action, in the form of funding to help hire and train new workers. For instance, in Arizona, they’ve succeeded in securing government funding for the AHCA Works program. Such program helps “recruit, pay for training and retention of CNAs and caregivers in Arizona facilities and assisted living communities,” as Arizona Health Care Association CEO David Voepel told Hall.
But waiting for government action may not be an appealing option for some leaders. For those seeking more immediate solutions to today’s long-term care workforce issues, it may be time to seek out the assistance of a healthcare managed services provider (MSP).
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How to Maintain Safe Staffing Levels in Long-Term Care
Nursing home leaders can expect more changes as the crisis develops. However, Healthcare MSPs offer employers the chance to combine all the separate pieces of their workforce management process into one efficient, easy-to-manage line item. A healthcare MSP partner handles everything from sourcing and hiring employees. This also includes to more complex tasks like payroll services, vendor management, IC compliance, resource planning, and more.
Even more relevant to nursing home crisis, an MSP partner can offer access to skilled workers at a time when they’re urgently needed.
>Did you know? Leading MSP providers like CareerStaff are founded on a nationwide network of healthcare professionals, with the sourcing, hiring and onboarding of those professionals among a suite of other workforce management solutions.
In addition, healthcare MSPs can also help employers gain more efficiency from current staff with workflow improvements. They can help facilities adapt to new technology and regulatory requirements, and better meet the needs and preferences of residents. In the process, they may even help improve an organization’s long-term prospects with better patient experience, outcomes, and satisfaction.
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Tackle the Nursing Home Crisis with CareerStaff
CareerStaff is a leading healthcare MSP provider specializing in delivering the kind of nimble workforce solutions. Our solutions drive efficiency and value for healthcare organizations of all sizes. Offering decades of industry experience and a nationwide network of clinical professionals, we’re standing by to put healthcare MSP to work for your organization. Contact us here to learn more or get started today.