Overseas talent may be key to filling nursing home hiring gaps, according to a research series published by The LeadingAge LTSS Center @UMass Boston.

The long-term services and supports thinktank detailed existing labor shortages and the roles foreign-born workers already play in senior care.

About one-quarter of today’s CNAs in the United States and one-third of homecare workers are immigrants, said author Natasha Bryant, managing director and senior research associate with the LTSS Center.

“We hear again and again of our members’ difficulties in recruiting the staff they need. This is a crisis,” she told
McKnight’s. “Foreign-born workers are one solution.”

The LTSS Center reviewed existing literature and interviewed providers in Australia, Canada, the United Kingdom and the U.S. for its reports.

LeadingAge said providers should use formal channels to verify the trustworthiness of potential employers and employees, possibly establishing a registry, and implementing effective workforce enforcement procedures.

Challenges such as language and cultural barriers, racial and ethnic discrimination, and stressful working conditions can be improved with training and support.