Many aides leave for two obvious reasons

Nearly 40% of nursing assistants who work in nursing homes rely on some form of public assistance, the researchers say. Turnover remains at 52% annually.
Nearly 40% of nursing assistants who work in nursing homes rely on some form of public assistance, the researchers say. Turnover remains at 52% annually.

Low wages and high injury risks may be driving up unfilled nursing assistant positions in nursing homes, according to a new report. 

The number of nursing assistant positions is expected to skyrocket by 2024, making up at least 39% of employment growth in the long-term care industry. That's according to findings released in early September by the Paraprofessional Healthcare Institute. 

Despite that expected growth, an estimated 47,000 nursing assistant positions in skilled nursing facilities were vacant in 2012 — more than double the vacancies for registered nurses and licensed professional nurses combined.

Those vacancies were caused, in part, by a 52% turnover rate among nursing assistants that year, according to the report. Authors say it could be blamed on the low wages and the 3.5 times higher injury risk that come with the job.

Researchers called for the industry to develop strategies to strengthen the workforce.