Workforce challenges that have plagued long-term care operators during the coronavirus pandemic will worsen as the crisis progresses this year, predicted Harvard healthcare policy expert David Grabowski. 

“I actually think going forward it may get much worse, especially going into the fall if we see another surge,” Grabowski told
McKnight’s Long-Term Care News in late September. “Existing workers are leaving the workforce but also potential workers that you might recruit (will stay away). We just haven’t been able to grow this workforce during the pandemic.” 

Multiple studies have linked quality of staffing to how well nursing homes fare with COVID-19. Grabowski added that Harvard research has suggested that about 1 in 5 facilities nationwide were reporting severe worker shortages.

“Our direct caregivers haven’t been supported going back really to the beginning of the pandemic, in terms of either pay or personal protective equipment and testing. I think at some point, they’re going to evaluate their options,” Grabowski said.