The effects of the COVID-19 pandemic have wreaked havoc for nursing homes across the United States.
It means an increased risk of closures due to staff shortages and higher operating costs, according to a survey released Monday by the American Health Care Association (AHCA).
Nearly 98% of nursing homes are "experiencing difficulty hiring staff," with 73% of nursing homes reporting they "are concerned about having to close" due to "staffing woes."
"The survey shows the severe and persistent workforce shortage nursing home providers have been facing with too many facilities still struggling to hire and retain staff despite making every effort," Mark Parkinson, president and CEO of AHCA, told WCIV Charleston.
"Lawmakers across the country must prioritize long-term care residents and staff, and that begins with providing resources to address workforce challenges. As a provider that uniquely relies on government funding, policymakers must help nursing homes better compete for nurses and nurse aides, as well as build up the pipeline to incentivize more people to pursue a career in long-term care."
The AHCA says nursing homes are still struggling to recover from the COVID-19 pandemic. This week, healthcare professionals will share their views with members of Congress at the association's Congressional briefing event.
"We all agree that nursing homes need to hire more caregivers — the question is how," Parkinson conclude. "Unfunded staffing mandates would only make the crisis worse. Congress must invest in our long-term care workforce and protect access to care for millions of seniors."
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