Closeup of Hispanic nurse rubbing her forehead, looking tired/stressed

Nursing homes shed another 1,500 jobs in the month of July, bringing the total for residential care facilities to approximately 380,000 since February 2020 when the COVID-19 pandemic began, according to the latest jobs report from the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics.

Skilled nursing’s staffing crisis, which has led some providers to turn away new admissions, continues while the healthcare sector as a whole has gained 38,000 jobs.

“I’ve been in the industry for 40 years and I’ve never seen it this bad,” Terry Robertson, a chief executive for a Washington state long-term care facility, recently told the Wall Street Journal. “We turned down 138 admissions from hospitals last month because we didn’t have the staff to open another unit.” 

A July survey by the American Health Care Association found that 94% of all nursing homes are facing staffing shortages — with 73% saying their organization’s overall workforce situation has gotten worse when compared to 2020. Providers have raised wages significantly for staff members in response to the shortages.

Industry leaders have also called on the federal government to provide additional pandemic relief funding and support that would ensure facilities have the ability to recruit and retain the necessary staff needed so they can continue providing high quality care. 

A new proposal introduced in the House this week would provide additional funding to states to help long-term care providers strengthen their workforce.