In just the next eight years, one out of every five US adults will reach retirement age, and two out of three of them will require long term care at some point in their lives. Twenty percent will also need long term care for 5 years or more.
Of course, we’ve had a system in place to help elderly Americans and their families so that they are cared for well as they require more assistance. However, the COVID pandemic, which obviously hit nursing homes particularly hard, has brought on a massive staffing crisis so big that 78% of nursing homes are now concerned they may have to close permanently due to a lack of staff.
The new stressors felt by 62% of all healthcare workers, has caused this unprecedented staffing shortage and, sadly, there are no quick solutions. Nursing home workers, who were already retiring faster than new recruits were coming in prior to the pandemic, are stressed beyond what they can handle. Fifty-six percent report losing sleep; 31% report developing headaches or stomach aches; and 16% report an increased use of drugs or alcohol to cope with the stress.
Providing support to staff, ensuring safety, showing staff appreciation, and offering further education and training opportunities can help nursing homes to retain the staff they have and to recruit new staff for the future.