The workforce shortage has aging services struggling to provide quality care to vulnerable patients.
Despite the rise in demand for aging services, nursing homes and home health agencies are struggling to accommodate it. The workforce shortage is preventing providers from being able to provide care to the patients who need it.
Here are three HealthLeaders stories that examine the workforce shortage, its impact on aging services, and what can be done.
In 2022, the Biden administration proposed implementing a minimum staffing requirement for nursing homes to combat the workforce shortage. However, a report by the American Health Care Association (AHCA) stated that a staffing mandate wasn't a "feasible solution," as many facilities are already severely underfunded.
According to the report, 94% of nursing homes wouldn't be able to meet the proposed 4.1 hours per resident day (HPRD) minimum. One-third of nursing home residents could potentially be displaced if facilities were unable to maintain the staffing minimum.
Throughout the COVID-19 pandemic, skilled nursing facilities relied on the flexibilities that the public health emergency (PHE) permitted, such as the temporary nurse aid waiver, for relief.
However, with the PHE coming to an end May 11, providers need policymakers to act on legislation, such as the Building America's Health Workforce Act, to ensure they'll be able to provide residents the care they need.
A poll conducted by the nonprofit association representing aging services providers found that 64% of providers' workforce issues haven't improved since the previous poll.
Low reimbursement rates not covering the cost of care, being unable to pay workers as much as hospitals or larger organizations, and lack of action from policymakers have contributed to the providers' frustration.
The poll does note that some providers found an answer to their workforce struggles by hiring foreign workers through work-based visas or on refugee status. However, even this solution needs action from policymakers to help expedite the process of hiring them.
Jasmyne Ray is the revenue cycle editor at HealthLeaders.