The ongoing workforce shortage has affected every healthcare provider, but no organizations have been harder hit 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 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 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. And 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,” the report authors explain.
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 — or a loss of “14.1% of its total workforce.”
That means that the number of nursing home employees is at its lowest level since 1994. And the larger long-term care industry, which also includes residential care facilities, isn’t doing much better. Having sustained a total loss of more than 362,000 employees since the pandemic began, the nation’s facilities are 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 Approach Can Facilities Take to Address Staffing Shortages in Long-Term Care?
Industry advocates are calling for government action, in the form of funding to help hire and train new workers. In Arizona, they’ve succeeded in securing government funding for the AHCA Works program, which 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).
> In Case You Missed It: What is MSP in Healthcare, and How Does It Help Workforce Efficiency?
How to Maintain Safe Staffing Levels in Long-Term Care
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. Handling everything from sourcing and hiring employee to more complex tasks like payroll services, vendor management, IC compliance, resource planning, and more, healthcare MSP can help free up room in the labor budget and enable organizations to do more with less.
Even more relevant to long-term care workforce issues, though, an MSP partner can offer access to skilled workers at a time when they’re urgently needed. Leading MSP providers like CareerStaff are founded on a nationwide network of healthcare professionals, with the sourcing, hiring and onboarding of those professionals their core competency among a suite of other workforce solutions.
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 outcomes and more referral opportunities.
Before partnering with a healthcare MSP, though, leaders should remember to find one that’s fully customizable, offering a flexible suite of solutions to match your organization’s specific needs. That means take the time to work with you to understand your unique situation, and then having the expertise it takes to recommend and implement the solutions needed to get the job done.
Tackle Your Facilities Staffing Shortages with CareerStaff
Full disclosure: CareerStaff is a leading healthcare MSP specializing in delivering the kind of nimble workforce solutions that 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.