Living wages for seniors competitive with other health sectors: NIC

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The nursing home industry employed more nursing aides than qualified nurses in 2021 and paid competitive salaries that were close to the national hourly average, according to a new analysis of nursing jobs and salaries. and nursing aides.

Omar Zahraoui, senior data analyst at the National Housing and Aged Care Investment Center, used data from the Bureau of Labor Statistics’ 2021 Occupational Employment and Wage Statistics to discuss the state senior nursing job market in a blog post on Friday.

Four occupations – registered nurses, licensed practical nurses and licensed professionals, practical nurses and health care aides and home care aides – accounted for 52% of all employees in the senior living sector (defined as assisted living and CCRC) in 2021, compared to around 60% in the skilled nursing sector, he said.

Nursing aides (27.6%) and orderlies (15.8%) made up the largest share of all senior living employees, followed by LPNs and LVNS (5.1%) and AI (3.6%). Compared to skilled nursing, seniors’ residences employed fewer nursing staff but more aides in 2021.

Slightly competitive salaries

With the exception of RNs, pay rates for seniors and skilled nursing were somewhat competitive with average US salaries and other healthcare industries. Zahraoui said this fact suggests that the attraction and retention of labor is more of a combination of factors besides workers’ wages.

However, nursing homes and skilled nursing were found to be the lowest paying healthcare industries for RNs in 2021. RNs received an hourly wage of $32.59 (18.1% lower than US average hourly rate) in nursing homes and $34.74 (12.7%) below the national average for skilled nursing.

LPNs and LVNs in nursing homes, on the other hand, earned 1.2% more than the national hourly average at $25.22, compared to $25.80 an hour in skilled nursing. The hourly wage paid in nursing homes was nearly the same or better than in all other health care facilities, including general medical and surgical hospitals, where LPNs and LVNs earned $23.10 of hour.

Salaries for nursing assistants in nursing homes ($15.15) and skilled nursing ($15.43) were also competitive, according to Zahraoui, although they were slightly below the national hourly average of 15, $99 for the post. Nursing assistants in nursing homes and skilled nursing earned less than the rates paid in general medical and surgical hospitals ($16.92) but above those in home care services ($14.39 $) and individual and family services ($13.84).

Average hourly rates for health care aides in senior living ($14.06) and skilled nursing ($14.49) were also competitive with the national average of $14.07 for other industries and health care institutions. Aides in individual and family services earned $14.20 an hour, and aides in home care services – which employed the most aides of any health industry – earned $13.52 per hour. $.

Decline in work participation

Labor shortages continue to be a major challenge for the senior living and skilled nursing sectors, where labor force participation rates have remained well below pre- pandemics at 62.2% in June – 1.2 percentage points below the pre-pandemic level of 63.4%, Zahraoui wrote. . There are fewer jobs in nursing homes and skilled nursing today than in March 2020, he said.

Looking at employment ratios, the data showed that in 2021 there were 5.2 LPNs and LVNs per 100 people aged 80, while the nursing assistant ratio was 10.7 per 100 older people. . By comparison, there are more RNs (24.8) and aides (27.4) for each senior than LPNs, LVNs, or practical nurses.

When it comes to RNs, overall, 18 states had workforce concentrations above the national average of 24.8 per 100 seniors. These states included Colorado (30.2), Indiana (27.8), Massachusetts (32), Ohio (27.9), and Texas (27.6). The lowest RNS labor concentration ratios were in New Jersey (21.1), New Mexico (20.6), and Florida (16.8).

Sixteen states, overall, had LPN and LVN workforce concentrations above the national average of 5.2. The highest labor concentration ratios for these job categories were found in Louisiana (11.4), Oklahoma (8.6), and Texas (8.2). Some of the lowest labor concentration ratios for LPNs and LVNs were seen in New Mexico (2.2), Oregon (2.2), and Utah (1.5).

For practical nurses, 27 states had workforce concentrations above the national average of 10.7, with the highest workforce concentrations in Kansas (19.3), Nebraska (19 .1) and Wisconsin (13.2). California (7) – which employed the highest number of practical nurses in 2021 at 94,450 – Nevada (8.2) and Florida (7.4) had the lowest concentration rates of practical nurses. Zahraoui noted that the relatively high number of adults aged 80 and older in California (1.35 million in 2021) leads to a lower rate of labor concentration.

Ten states had concentrations of home health aides and personal care workers above the national average of 27.4, with the highest concentration rates in New York (57.5), Washington, DC (53.6) and California (53). Illinois (21.5), Alabama (10.6) and New Jersey (19.8) were among the states with the lowest labor concentration rates for these job categories .

Zahraoui’s Friday message followed an earlier report that assisted living communities, continuing care retirement communities and skilled nursing facilities were experiencing a slower workforce recovery compared to others. health sectors.

The NIC also recently reported that employment in residential care facilities and nursing homes increased by 8,000 jobs in June, the fifth consecutive monthly gain. But employment remained 11.3% below the July 2019 high.

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