CHICAGO (NewsNation) — Long-term care facilities, one of the industries hardest hit by the coronavirus pandemic, are facing staffing shortages and costs so high that hundreds have closed.
According to the American Health Care Association (AHCA), more than 300 nursing homes have shut down since 2020, and more than 400 are at risk of closing this year.
“Wage inflation has affected us, and those higher costs is really what is forcing people in our industry to close their doors,”said Adam Lampert, CEO of Cambridge Caregivers.
Lampert said costs are higher than ever due to the pandemic, inflation and a major staffing shortage.Inflation hitting food prices globally, as shortages begin
“Nurses got burned out from the pandemic, left the bedside, they left the hospitals. When they left the hospital, the hospitals had to fill the void. And the way they did that was they started pulling CNAs (certified nursing assistants) from companies like mine.”
As a result, that’s made CNAs harder to find and more expensive.
“Some of my most senior staff, who’ve been with me for seven to 10 years, kind of shrugged their shoulders and said they had to do it; they were getting paid twice as much to go work in the hospitals.”
There are pandemic-related costs and stresses, too.
“We have to mask everybody, we have cleaning materials, and we have other PPE (personal protection equipment) that is necessary that was never the normal lexicon or call structure in our business,” Lampert said.
On the other hand, families have pulled their loved ones from nursing care facilities due to the high risks of COVID-19-related deaths and pandemic-related restrictions.Fate of Title 42 policy looms over border
According to the AHCA, most nursing homes typically sit at a 90 % occupancy rate, but that rate is forecast to be 77% this year. Due to all the added pressures and costs, more homes are in the negative.
Restructuring at this time is a must. However, Lambert said he believes new immigration policies will help — 80% of his staff are immigrants and foreign-born.
“We need to let those people come in and do the work that other Americans candidly don’t want to do, and that would alleviate all of the stresses in our industry,” Lambert said