Report shows increasing nursing home staff to mandated minimum would cost $10 billion each year

Published: Jul. 22, 2022 at 7:04 PM EDT
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ROANOKE, Va. (WDBJ) - As nursing homes across the country are facing staffing shortages, a recent report shows the solution may not be as simple as hiring more workers.

The American Health Care Association report states it would cost nursing homes across the United States $10 billion annually to reach a federally-mandated minimum staffing requirement.

President Biden in February proposed nursing home reforms and establishing a baseline number of staffers. The report indicates adding more regulations without federal aid could force nursing homes to close and displace more than 200,000 residents across the country.

Michael Anderson is a nursing home resident in Botetourt County. He explained how he sees the staffing shortage impact first-hand.

“They try to do as much as possible for the patients that they have, even though they may be short,” Anderson said. “Like for instance this morning, there’s only one nurse, and one CNA, and they won’t have any help until 3 o’clock this afternoon.”

Anderson also receives care at InnovAge, a center in Salem dedicated to helping nursing home and independent seniors. The center’s senior director explained it helps take some of the burden off nursing home staff as another care option for seniors.

“InnovAge Pace provides custom healthcare and social engagement for frail seniors,” Beasley said. “To be able to stay in the community and be able to leverage the services that InnovAge Pace provides, gives them an opportunity to maybe divert going to a nursing home in the short term, and we keep them in the community for as long as possible.”

Nursing homes across the Roanoke Valley partner with InnovAge to minimize some of the shortage impacts and provide more care for the senior community.

“It’s wonderful, actually, because if it had not been for this program and for them helping me the way that they have, I don’t know what I would do,” Anderson said. “I really wouldn’t.”

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