health care

Nursing Homes Struggle to Find Qualified Workers, Particularly Nurses

The Massachusetts Senior Care Association found in a recent poll that their 360 members had 6,900 open nursing-related positions

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Senior living facilities need workers, specifically nurses. The need is greater than it has ever been.

The health care industry continues to struggle with the effects of COVID-19.

"We’d love to have more folks join the cause," explained Tom Grape, head of Benchmark Senior Living. He, like many in his industry, need workers.

"It’s a challenge to recruit folks in multiple disciplines but we are working hard. It is slightly better than it has been," he said.

In a recent study, the Massachusetts Senior Care Association found their 360 members have a lot of job openings. The lobbying group represents nursing homes that receive money from the state. They polled 2/3 of their member this summer and found 6,900 open nursing-related positions. For nine months now, they found nursing positions have made up 22% of all the job openings. The struggle for employees forced more than 60% of those facilities to limit admissions.

Benchmark has 31 facilities in Massachusetts alone. That has enabled it to get creative to deal with the worker shortage, but it's required asking employees to work overtime and bringing people in from one community to another. Its facilities are also almost all privately paid for.

"Obviously we have to be competitive with their wages and benefits," Grape said.

He added that it's a tight labor market everywhere and he hopes nurses or other workers look into the industry.

"They feel a compelling caregiving calling in their life," he said.

The company has also lost employees due to COVID-19 fatigue, and like many companies, they have added more mental and emotional health benefits for those who work there.

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