NJ Nursing Home Labor Shortage Keeps Getting Worse
More than 2 years after the COVID pandemic began, a new report finds most nursing homes and long-term care facilities in New Jersey and beyond continue to face serious staffing issues and some economic problems as well.
The American Health Care Association survey finds:
— 60% of nursing home providers in Jersey and across the country report their workforce situation has gotten worse since the beginning of this year.
— 87% are currently facing moderate to high staffing shortages
— 98% are experiencing difficulty hiring staff.
— 99% of nursing home providers are asking staff to work overtime or extra shifts.
— 76% say their current financial situation and lack of funding is an obstacle in being able to offer competitive wages to hire new staff.
Andy Aronson, president and CEO of the Health Care Association of New Jersey, said to address these issues, “obviously we want to pay more to the workers, but we’re also trying to get to people who are going into the health care field earlier, you know in high school, in college.”
Let them know about long-term care as a career
He said it’s important to let people know about the benefits of a career in long-term care.
“By getting to people earlier in the process we think we can be successful in attracting people into the industry and that’s really where people are focused right now.”
He noted the starting salary for a certified nurses aid is around $18 an hour but “what facilities have found is that the competition is with other employers, whether it be Amazon or some of these other large employers in New Jersey. We have to offer competitive wage and benefit packages.”
Aronson said while the staffing shortage at long-term care facilities is as bad as it’s ever been, he insisted there are still enough workers to provide the essential care that is needed for current residents.
Current residents should still get high-quality care
He said the staffing crunch “shouldn’t affect the patients and residents who are in those facilities, they should still be receiving high-quality care. What it impacts is the ability of these facilities to take in new residents.”
He said right now “in most regions of the state you have multiple facilities and at least some of those facilities will take in new patients.”
He said the benefits of working in a long-term care facility are many.
“You get to know your residents and patients, you get to know their families, you really get to touch their lives and develop a connection with the people you care for,” he said.
Aronson said efforts continue to look for ways to put financial backing into the system to try to encourage more people to choose a career in long-term care.
“We’re working together with the state government and a lot of other interested parties to try to make good things happen,” he said.