Historic Workforce Crisis In The Long Term Care Industry Is Only Getting Worse


The long term care industry has been facing an unprecedented workforce crisis, and the data shows it continues to deepen. According to recent data from the Bureau of Labor Statistics, long term care facilities have lost over 400,000 employees from February 2020 to March 2022. That far outpaces other health care sectors. Pandemic-related issues have caused increased burnout among caregivers. Coupled with the inability of many providers to compete against other employers because of chronic underfunding, long term care providers are facing a crisis of historic proportions.
As outlined in Skilled Nursing News this week, the nursing home industry lost 2,500 jobs in March alone even though operators nationwide have taken unprecedented steps to recruit and retain the workforce that they need during these trying times. Mission Health Communities, a long term care company based in Florida, has implemented an in-house certified nursing assistant (CNA) training program in order to prepare more workers to step into the vacant positions. In Minnesota, similar initiatives are being led by the state, with nearly $7 million invested in the continuation of training programs.
However, despite these career development programs and nursing homes implementing the highest wage increases compared to any other health care sector the past two years, the crisis continues. Mark Parkinson, president and CEO of the American Health Care Association and National Center for Assisted Living (AHCA/NCAL), explained in Skilled Nursing News that offering positions with comparable pay to those within other health care settings are crucial to reaching a solution to workforce woes within the industry. He said:
“We’re going to not only have to be great employers on the engagement and satisfaction side, we have to have jobs that can compete with other sectors.”

As a result of the staffing shortage, a growing number of facilities across the country are being forced to limit admissions or close down altogether. For instance, just this week KLKN TV in Nebraska reported that more and more seniors are being forced from their facilities in the state due to closures and being confronted with limited options as other facilities limit admissions.
AHCA/NCAL has offered solutions to the continuing crisis in the form of the Care For Our Seniors Act, a comprehensive reform proposal that addresses the workforce challenges facing the industry and the need for additional and sustainable funding to combat it.
Caregivers are the backbone of long term care communities, and the work that they do every day to care for our nation’s most vulnerable population is essential. Lawmakers must prioritize long term care facilities by providing them with the resources that they need to recruit and retain a robust workforce in order to continuing serving our nation’s seniors.​