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Who Is Taking Care Of The Old People?


Nursing homes across the country are feeling the effects of the ongoing labor shortages, according to multiple reports.

Nursing home jobs are down 221,000, or 14% since the start of the COVID-19 pandemic, the worst labor shortage among all health care providers, according to a report released by the American Health Care Association (AHCA) and the National Center for Assisted Living (NCAL), which represents over 14,000 nursing homes in the U.S.

Outpatient care and offices of physicians have seen job gains coming out of the pandemic while home health care services and hospitals are either near or close to full employment, according to the report.

Assisted living has also seen a drop in employment, with the sector losing 8.2%, or 38,000, jobs.

“As many caregivers are getting burned out by the pandemic, workers are leaving the field for jobs in other health care settings or other industries altogether. Chronic Medicaid underfunding, combined with the billions of dollars providers have spent to fight the pandemic, have left long term care providers struggling to compete for qualified staff,” Mark Parkinson, president and chief executive of AHCA and NCAL, said in the report.

“We desperately need the help of policymakers to attract and retain more caregivers, so that our nation’s most vulnerable have access to the long term care they need,” Parkinson added.

The AHCA and NCAL released a survey in September highlighting that the labor crisis is worsening and impeding care services for seniors. Roughly 86% of nursing homes and 77% of assisted living providers said their workforce situation has worsened.

Nearly every nursing home and assisted living facility in the U.S. said they faced staffing shortages and asked staff to work extra shifts. Almost 60% of nursing homes have limited new admissions due to labor shortages.

Meanwhile, the 14 million elderly in need of long term care is a figure expected to double by 2050, driven by nearly 71 million baby boomers entering their senior years, according to data obtained by CNBC.

The U.S. economy added 531,000 jobs in October, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, while unemployment fell by 2%. Health care added 37,000 jobs in October, with home health care services adding 16,000 jobs and nursing care adding 12,000.

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