LTC worker shortage to intensify, Alliance president says

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It will be important to have a stable and well-trained workforce to cope with the growing nursing home caregiver shortage, said Alan Rosenbloom, president of the Alliance for Quality Nursing Home Care.

A growing demand for long-term care will require the equivalent of 800,000 jobs for direct care workers by 2010, according to testimony before the National Commission for Quality Long-Term Care on the workforce crisis. But problems, including the state of the economy, have led to a worker shortage, shrinking labor pool and high turnover. The shortage extends to administrators, licensed staff such as registered nurses, therapists and practical nurses, as well as paraprofessional staff.

The number of patients requiring short-term intensive medical and rehabilitative services is changing the face of nursing homes, Rosenbloom noted to the Commission. He recommended training, mentoring and career ladder programs to help improve the core managerial and clinical competencies that will be needed to handle more acute patients and to lead direct care and nursing staff. Seventeen of the largest post-acute and long-term care companies in the U.S. comprise The Alliance for Quality Nursing Home Care.