ST. PAUL, Minn. (AP) — While much has been made about the stress that COVID-19 has placed on Minnesota hospitals, the state’s long-term care industry says it is facing its worst-ever workforce shortage.
Leaders from senior living organizations throughout the state say they have about 23,000 job openings, which is about 20 percent of the workforce at full strength. Resignations continue to outpace new hires, they say, at a time when there are more seniors in Minnesota than ever before.
“We know our workforce crisis is a monumental problem to solve,” said Gayle Kvenvold, president and CEO of LeadingAge Minnesota.
Staffing shortages are leading to tighter admissions policies, Minnesota Public Radio News reported.
A survey from Care Providers of Minnesota and Leading Age Minnesota, groups that represent long-term care facilities in the state, says nearly 70 percent of nursing homes are restricting admissions in some way because they are short-staffed.
Filling job openings had been a challenge in long-term care even before the COVID-19, but the virus has worsened the problem. Now leaders say they’re facing issues of burnout and opposition to upcoming federal vaccine mandate for workers in the field. In addition, pay remains one of the biggest obstacles in hiring and retaining staff, they say.