Florida nursing centers face significant staffing hurdles amidst pandemic

by | Aug 10, 2021

 

An overwhelming majority of Florida nursing centers are facing significant staffing challenges, according to a recent survey conducted by the Florida Health Care Association (FHCA).

The FHCA survey found an urgent need for investment in the long term care workforce is needed, as 92 percent of FHCA member facilities are facing staffing challenges as the state contends with another surge in COVID-19 cases. Conducted in July, the survey of 310 nursing homes and 23 assisted living facilities also revealed that almost 9 in 10 FHCA member facilities said their overall workforce situation has gotten worse since 2020.

In a press release, FHCA stressed the growing need for resources to recruit and retain staff to keep up with the demands of Florida’s growing aging population.

“These survey results make it clear that Florida’s long term care workforce is facing serious challenges,” said FHCA Chief Executive Officer Emmett Reed. “Our state must make significant investments in our long term care facilities so they have the resources necessary to recruit and retain the best caregivers to join the front lines. This includes making sure our facilities are properly funded so providers can offer meaningful jobs with competitive wages, and in turn enhance the overall quality of care for their residents.”

Additionally, the report also found that 88 percent of nursing centers said they have experienced a shortage of staff members in the last month, with 52 percent experiencing reduced admissions as a result of staffing challenges. Another, 63 percent of FHCA members indicated that their budget won’t be able sustain current efforts to meet staffing needs for more than six months.

When asked what steps would help them improve their ability to recruit and retain staff, nearly 80 percent of those surveyed cited higher reimbursement — that enables them to offer better staff pay and benefits — as the best way to recruit and retain staff.

As the Delta variant continues to spread across the Sunshine State, FHCA noted the important role Florida’s long term care professionals have played since the start of the pandemic, emphasizing the heavy lifting it took to protect the elderly — who were the most vulnerable population in the early days of the pandemic.

Reed added the survey shows how vulnerable the centers remain due to the pandemic, especially without adequate staffing in place amidst the outbreak of a new strain of the coronavirus.

To view the full findings from the survey, click here.

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