Employees who work in healthcare are the heart and soul of every long-term care facility.
But at the Cambria Care Center in Ebensburg and many other facilities across the nation leaders say they don’t have enough staff.
“Honestly the staffing crisis in long term care, and it is a crisis, has become all-consuming.”
Administrator Bob Bagdon says this is the worst staffing crisis he’s seen at a nursing home in his 30 years of experience.
“Over the past several years, it’s been increasingly difficult to hire and retain staff. People are leaving the industry to do other things, to do easier jobs,”
Bagdon used to spend his days on human resources, building operations, and other tasks.
But his workdays have looked a lot different as this staffing issue took precedence over the last five years.
“Now, the majority of my time is spent on staffing,”
Their team now starts and ends each day with a staffing meeting, and they have even added two staffing coordinator positions.
Bagdon says they currently have about 220 employees, but they should have over 400, which has led to some drastic changes.
“We’ve actually reduced the number of residents we’re able to take,”
Now they’re operating at 50% capacity, eliminating the need for their second floor, which was turned into a holiday display over Christmas.
“The management team is willing to pitch in as much as they can. People from other departments pitch in as much as they can and do what they’re able and licensed to in the state,”
So, what’s the answer?
“I think the answer is complicated. I think part of the answer is an increase in funding for nursing homes,”
He says the money is limited to federal and state funding from Medicare, Medicaid, insurance companies, and other programs.
The Cambria Care Center has implemented some new programs in response to the staffing crisis.
They’ve formed an in-house Certified Nursing Assistant (CNA) training program.
Employees can now also get partial tuition reimbursement for nursing school.
“It’s become an all-consuming process, every day, throughout the day, making sure that there is adequate staffing to meet the needs of the residents,”