Challenges associated with hiring and retaining long-term care workers has gotten worse for about three-quarters of nursing homes this year, according to a new survey from the American Health Care Association/National Center for Assisted Living.

Findings released Wednesday revealed that a total of 73% of nursing home providers believe their organization’s overall workforce situation has generally gotten worse when compared to 2020, despite the presence of vaccines this year. 

The survey also found that 94% of all nursing homes have faced a shortage of staff members within the last month. 

For example in Florida, providers face a projected demand for 3.4 million direct-car workers by 2030 — which would be an about 50% increase since 2015, according to the Florida Health Care Association.

“The survey results clearly indicate that the long term care workforce is facing serious challenges, and our country must make significant investments to help address these shortfalls,” Mark Parkinson, president and CEO of AHCA/NCAL, said in a statement. “Lawmakers across the country must prioritize long term care to ensure the profession has the necessary resources to maintain a strong workforce.”

Survey data also showed that 81% of nursing home providers believe higher reimbursement would help them offer better pay and benefits, and in turn help recruit and retain workers. 

Close to half of providers (48%) said improved perception of working in the industry or with seniors would improve their ability to hire and keep staff. 

“Caregivers are the backbone of nursing homes and assisted living communities, and we need to make sure they are being adequately supported so they can provide the highest quality care to our elderly population,” Parkinson said.

The survey included 616 responses from nursing homes and 122 from assisted living communities. For additional coverage, check out our sister site McKnight’s Senior Living.