Spread the word: Long-term care is hiring

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It seems ironic, doesn’t it? Long-term care, often criticized as a financial albatross, may be an engine for economic growth.

That is what the American Health Care Association and the Alliance for Quality Nursing Home Care are arguing. And it makes sense. After all, long-term care accounts for 1.1% of the nation’s Gross Domestic Product (GDP), or $144.3 billion annually, according to a 2008 Lewin Group study cited by the organizations.

The massive nursing shortage and the potential for new long-term care construction present opportunities to boost the U.S. workforce, the associations outlined in a plan released Thursday.

“The post-acute/long term care sector is well-positioned to employ more than 100,000 currently vacant positions in nursing facilities, and countless more throughout the remainder of the sector,” Alan Rosenbloom, president of the Alliance, said in a statement. “We also offer the unique opportunity to create as many as 100,000 construction jobs within 60-180 days for ‘shovel ready’ construction projects.”

Long-term care—a potential driver of economic expansion? Who would have thought? But then again, who would have imagined that major retail chains such as Circuit City or Linens 'n' Things would be facing extinction?

What seems clear is that long-term care offers a certain measure of job security if you are a CNA or RN. And it is a good time for the industry to hammer home that message to lawmakers. If nursing staff increases over the next couple years, that could be one of the best things to come out of this economic recession.

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Daily Editors' Notes

McKnight's Daily Editors' Notes features commentary on the latest in long-term care news and issues. Entries are written by Editorial Director John O'Connor, Editor James M. Berklan, Senior Editor Elizabeth Newman and Staff Writer Marty Stempniak.