Hearings highlight staff shortages in Illinois long-term care facilities

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SRecruitment issues were at the forefront of a House hearing on the topic Wednesday on the current state of Illinois nursing homes.

According to the National Center for Assisted Living, 86% of nursing homes and 77% of assisted living service providers said their workforce situation had deteriorated in the past 3 months. The group also reports that 58% of nursing homes have limited new admissions due to worker shortages.

“We desperately need staff, and again, there is a staffing crisis, and this staffing crisis could get worse very soon,” said Matt Pickering, executive director of the Health Care Council of Illinois.

Pickering believes the vaccination mandate for assembly center workers in Illinois may drive some people out of the industry. A majority of workers hesitated to be vaccinated. At a nursing and rehabilitation center on the South Shore, the state website shows that less than 1% of staff are vaccinated.

According to the latest figures from the AARP COVID-19 dashboard, 31% of nursing homes in Illinois have an immunization rate of at least 75% for staff.

Representative Lakeshia Collins, D-Chicago, a former health card worker, said facilities should avoid hiring expensive outside help when workers quit or go on strike.

“You go to agencies, and you hold out for as long as you can, and you know it’s costing you money, so why don’t you use that money to hold these workers, Collins said.

The understaffing issues were addressed by Illinois lawmakers in 2019. A law allows the HDI to impose fines on nursing homes that do not meet the 2.5 hours of direct daily nursing care required for the residents.

The NCAL reports that 78% of nursing homes and 71% of assisted living facilities fear workforce issues will force them to close.

“The survey demonstrates the serious workforce issues facing long-term care providers as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic, said Mark Parkinson, CEO of NCAL. “” Lawmakers across the country must prioritize long-term care and that starts with providing resources to address workforce challenges. When facilities can afford to offer competitive wages and training programs, workers will follow suit.

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Key words: States, New, Illinois, Retirement homes

Original author: Kevin Bessler, The Central Square

Original location: Hearings highlight staff shortages in Illinois long-term care facilities

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