Worker shortage affects long-term care more than other health sectors, report finds

All health sectors have felt the sting of the current worker shortage, but none more so than long-term care, according to a report released this month by the Department of Health and Human Services’ office of the Assistant Secretary. planning and evaluation.

Although hospitals lost 32,900 employees between December 2020 and December 2021, skilled nursing and residential care facilities lost more than 145,000 workers, according to the American Health Care Association/National Center for Assisted Living. Data from the Bureau of Labor Statistics shows that the long-term care sector has lost more than 400,000 employees since the start of the pandemic.

“Providers are doing all they can to recruit and retain staff, but we need government support to go further faster. It’s time for policymakers to invest in our frontline heroes and craft policies that will help recruit and retain hundreds of thousands of long-term caregivers,” an AHCA/NCAL spokesperson told the The McKnight Business Daily.

Jenna Kellerman, director of strategy and workforce development at LeadingAge, noted that the ASPE report largely focused on hospitals and acute care staff and largely overlooked the challenges of long-term care. .

“The Importance of LTSS [long-term services and supports] to the entire healthcare system has been highlighted during the pandemic, but is often overlooked as a key player in reports like this,” she told the The McKnight Business Daily

ASPE’s report highlights a need that AHCA/NCAL and LeadingAge say is being addressed by its proposed Caring for Our Elderly Act, at least to address worker shortages and other household concerns. The organizations advocated for the law with members of Congress and their aides, saying the proposal encourages clinical improvements in nursing homes to improve the quality of care, workforce improvements to strengthen and support frontline caregivers, surveillance reforms to make systems more resident. impulsive and structural modernizations focused on the dignity and safety of residents.

“Our healthcare system as a whole cannot function without an operational arm of long-term care services. We need funding recalibration to properly reimburse LTSS for the important role they play within the system,” Kellerman said. “Without this recalibration, we will not be able to support the flow of hospitalized patients in our LTSS settings, and we will be less successful in preventing hospitalizations of our older adult consumers.”

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