Assisted living, CCRC workforce recovery among slowest in healthcare: NIC

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Assisted living communities, continuing care retirement communities and skilled nursing facilities are seeing a recovery in the workforce, according to a new report from the National Investment Center for Aged Care and Housing slower than other health sectors.

In a market trends blog, NIC senior data analyst Omar Zahraoui compared employment patterns, including workforce contraction and recovery and wage increases, since March 2020 in long-term care sectors with other adjacent sectors of the healthcare industry.

Referring to data from the Bureau of Labor Statistics, Zahraoui said the number of workers in the retirement community in assisted living and continuing care dropped significantly during the height of the pandemic – 7.5% for March assisted living. 2020 to November 2021 and a drop of 13.9% for CCRCs. from March 2020 to January 2022. Skilled nursing experienced a 15.1% decline in its workforce from March 2020 to March 2022.

Faster recovery in assisted living

On a positive note, the Assisted Living and CPAB sectors have seen total employment increase by 1.8% and 0.8%, respectively, in recent months from lows related to the pandemic. But employment figures remain well below pre-pandemic levels of March 2020, at -5.8% for assisted living facilities and -13.2% for CCRCs. The skilled nursing sector remains at 14.7% below pre-pandemic employment levels.

“These statistics show that assisted living is seeing a relatively rapid recovery in the workforce compared to CCRC and skilled nursing,” Zahraoui said, adding that data from NIC MAP Vision shows that occupancy and assisted living applications also recover faster than for skilled nursing and CCRC.

Adjacent health industries – including home care services, general medical and surgical hospitals, individual and family services and doctors’ offices – fell in the early months of the pandemic but began to recover rapidly , said Zahraoui. Home health and individual and family services took two years to return to pre-pandemic levels, while the assisted living, CCRC and skilled nursing workforce did not only recently started to recover.

BLS data from May showed that total employment in some of these sectors exceeded pre-pandemic levels in March 2020, at 1% for home health, 1.5% for individual and family services and 4.4% for medical practices.

Other industries are seeing success in recruitment and retention

“The relatively rapid recovery in these healthcare industries suggests that these sectors have been successful in attracting and retaining workers during the pandemic – some of whom may have been part of the elderly housing and skilled nursing workforce before. the pandemic – and demand has been relatively strong for skilled nursing and senior housing,” Zahraoui said.

Among the factors influencing the workforce recovery for assisted living facilities, CCRC and skilled nursing providers, he said, are macroeconomic market conditions, the continuing COVID pandemic -19, workforce size and growth, demand patterns and competition.

“The relationship between labor and demand in the senior housing and skilled nursing sectors has never been strong and will remain critical,” he said. “The pandemic has shown that residents and staff are part of the success equation for a smooth recovery.”

Higher salaries in skilled nursing

The elderly housing and skilled nursing sectors have responded to the workforce crisis by implementing the largest wage increases in the health industries, but a faster recovery in nursing care. home and individual and family services revealed that the drivers of workforce recovery go beyond competitive wages, Zahraoui said.

Average hourly wages in assisted living facilities and CCRCs increased by 17.1% and 16%, respectively, from March 2020 to April 2022, while skilled nursing saw their wages increase by 18.2%.

Skilled nursing workers now earn 17% more than assisted living workers and 8.7% more than CCRC workers. Skilled nursing workers also earn 4.3% more than workers in home health services and 19.7% more than workers in individual and family services.

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