Marketwatch: Nursing Homes are now Facing a COVID Resurgence, and a Staffing Shortage will only Make it Worse September 17, 2021
Despite receiving billions of dollars in federal aid during the COVID crisis, many nursing homes nationwide have done little to bolster the overstretched direct-care workforce that helps more than 1 million facility residents. The cost savings can come in the form of low wages and part-time positions for direct care workers. Nursing assistants in nursing homes earn a median $24,200 per year, 12% live in a household below the federal poverty line, and more than a third rely on public assistance, according to research and consulting group PHI.
Even with the pandemic severely restricting nursing-home visitation, some facilities are putting undue burdens on residents’ loved ones to compensate for gaps in staffing, family members, even going so far as to pressure families to sign admissions agreements that require them to provide supplemental nursing duty. Under federal law, “the nursing facility has the legal obligation to provide all the care the resident needs,” says Eric Carlson, directing attorney at nonprofit legal advocacy organization Justice in Aging. “It’s improper for the facility to use an admissions agreement like this in an effort to get out from under the legal obligations” of the federal law, he says.