Nursing Home Staffing Faces Shortages as Population Ages

According to a recent article appearing in the Wall Street Journal, a worsening labor shortage in the care of the elderly is hitting the country just as older generations need help most. Looming retirements in the current labor force, of which one-fifth is over 55, is also a big concern of skilled care facilities and home-care agencies. The three major reasons for the staffing shortage are:

1. Low pay: The median pay for nursing aides is $11.74, almost $5 less than the national average of all occupations at $16.71. Some nursing aides start hourly at barely above minimum wage. Nursing home operators say that while they would like to increase pay, recent cuts in Medicare and Medicaid reimbursements make it impossible to do so.

2. High injury rates: Occupational injury rates for nursing home aides are higher than that for factory and construction workers—almost double the yearly rate. Back injuries are prevalent as their duties include lifting patients out of bed, and they are often are bitten, kicked, and spat upon by residents with dementia.

3. Draining work: According to nursing aides, as the shortage continues they are asked to work more hours and care for more patients than they can handle. Industry turnover is high at 43%-75%, compared to other health occupation turnover at 28%.

This story is important for factors and brokers to know about because skilled care facilities and home care facilities, prime factoring clients, are going to face cash flow shortages. Government agencies are giving less money back and facilities need more employees to cover the shortage, a combination which means a shortage of cash. Factoring companies are in a position to help these institutions through this tough time and ensure that the elderly are always cared for.