Tired nurse

Long-term care providers in Minnesota are working to fill thousands of unfilled positions — 23,000 to be exact, according to a recent survey by LeadingAge Minnesota. 

Data released Thursday by the organization also found that vacant positions have led to about 20% of long-term care shifts being filled through overtime or the use of temporary staff. In August alone, long-term care providers lost a net of 2,000 workers statewide.

“The vast majority of long-term care providers have already responded by implementing shift bonuses, hiring bonuses and higher wage rates, and a significant minority are using mandatory overtime as well,” the report stated. “Almost all long-term care providers are using more overtime and double shifts in 2021 compared to 2020.” 

Additionally, nearly 70% of nursing homes are restricting admissions because of the lack of staffing, which is up from around 40% from just two months ago. Of the 23,000 open positions, more than 12,000 are from assisted living communities.

The shortages are also now creating burnout among staff. 

“We know our workforce crisis is a monumental problem to solve,” Gayle Kvenvold, president and CEO of LeadingAge Minnesota, told local media. “It’s made worse by having fewer workers at a time when we will have more seniors in our state than in any period in our history.” 

“We can’t admit people if we don’t have the staff to take care of them,” added Patti Cullen, president and CEO of Care Providers of Minnesota. “It’s not that we don’t want to take care of the seniors and help the families and communities. We cannot because we don’t have the staff available to do that.”

In Pennsylvania, long-term care facilities have had similar struggles after a survey among providers revealed that 74% of respondents have had to limit or put admissions on hold within the past six months, while others have created a waitlist for seniors. 

Other states, including Florida and Texas, have also recently conducted member surveys indicating major shortages are leading to restricted admissions.