Nursing homes are in desperate search for nurses amid the pandemic. 99% of nursing homes are facing staff shortages and 59% report the shortages being critical after nursing homes lost nearly one million nursing aids over the past year. Lack of staff adds not only affects nurses who have to take on more work, but the patients in the nursing homes as well. Let’s learn more about the nursing shortage below.
The Increased Need for Long Term Care
The next few years will see an increase in the amount of adults who need some form of long term care. By 2030 1 in 5 adults will reach retirement age, and 2 in 3 of those adults will require some form of care such as a nursing home. With staffing already short, training and hiring more nurses for these long term facilities is absolutely necessary.
With fewer staff, residents and patients receive less or lower quality care. The Centers for Medicaid and Medicare recommend that nursing home residents receive an average of four hours of nursing each day, but with lower staff it is very difficult to meet this threshold. In fact, it has been reported that residents receive as little as 20 minutes of staff contact each day. Lack of staff also means less help at meal times, fewer baths, and less frequent repositioning to prevent bedsores.
Taking care of the elderly should absolutely be a priority in such uncertain times. To increase the number of nurses in long term facilities, high schools can offer nursing programs so students are ready to enter positions soon after graduation. Distributing 8 million new green cards could also help entice applications. The current lack of staff and care is not fair to the residents who require assistance for maintaining a happy and healthy life, and these solutions could help solve this problem.