As 2020 commences, a critical job market issue that surfaced a few years ago continues to concern many short term senior care providers. The national shortage of Certified Nursing Assistants (CNAs) poses problems in some regions. This labor market imbalance has contributed to rising long term health care costs, in fact. Across the United States, many care facilities consider innovative measures for hiring, training, and retaining capable staff members.
A Labor Market Issue
Paradoxically, the upbeat job marketplace in the United States has contributed to the challenges facing nursing home and long term care facilities. As January commences, national unemployment rates hover around 3.5%. The buoyant economy has produced a thriving job market, with unemployment figures now at a 50-year low. Both skilled and unskilled workers in many fields find themselves in high demand.
Experienced CNAs in Short Supply
Analysts note that nursing homes frequently encounter obstacles finding and retaining employees in a prosperous economy. Aides in both long and short-term senior care facilities perform difficult, exhausting physical labor. Their work involves extensive standing and walking, plus repetitive bending and lifting. Understaffed facilities sometimes impose significant stress upon CNAs, who must perform a host of personal care duties attentively on schedule regardless of the number of patients. When unemployment rates drop and wages in other, less demanding, positions rise, senior care facilities sometimes experience recurring labor shortages.
Complex Demographic Issues
Complicating this situation even further for many skilled care facilities, the arrival of 2020 finds more members of the huge Baby Boomer demographic poised to enter their senior years. In 1900, the American population included over 13 people of working age (18-64) for every senior (aged 65 and older). In 2014, the number of workers per senior had fallen to just over 4. Ten years from now, projections indicate there will be only 2.8 people of working age per senior citizen in the United States. This changing ratio does not bode well for resolving staffing issues in many senior care facilities during the coming decade.
Today, firms furnishing senior care services search for creative solutions for labor shortage issues. These companies face competing demands. On the one hand, they must provide affordable care in order to remain in business. On the other, they need to hire, train, and retain a dedicated work force!