Attracting senior caregivers is a challenge

Published 9:42 am Friday, April 15, 2016

Senior Care, By Katie Davis

Minnesota communities are continuing to experience a growing shortage of senior care workers due to a fast-growing senior population and competitive local employment markets. Minnesota Long-Term Care Imperative, which is a collaborative effort between state long-term care associations Care Providers of Minnesota and Leading Age Minnesota, recently conducted a survey regarding long-term care professionals.

Katie Davis

Katie Davis

According to the Long-Term Care Imperative’s 2016 Legislative Survey, the number of open nursing (RN and LPN) and nursing assistant (CNA) positions in Minnesota nursing homes alone grew by 11 percent in 2015 to 2,883 open full-time equivalent positions. Also, according to the survey, 50 percent of Minnesota care centers reported suspending admissions in 2015 because they lacked essential staff, impacting more than 4,400 people who needed post-acute or long-term care services.

As Minnesota’s senior population grows by 60,000 per year, attracting quality caregivers into the senior services field is the top priority of all providers. However, providers are currently struggling to draw employees into their settings. While there was significant ground gained due to action taken during the 2015 legislative session with investments and education supports, we know, due to sheer demographics, that last year’s investment will not be enough to meet the increasing need for senior care workers. Initial conversations with workforce stakeholders indicate strong support to help.

The goal of the Minnesota Long-Term Care Imperative is to create opportunities to bolster efforts to improve recruitment of caregivers in the older adult services field. Working with higher education to support exposure to potential careers in senior services through nursing programs is going to be key to improving recruitment of caregivers. Obtaining grant funding from state agency partners to help promote older adult services careers is another goal of the Minnesota Long-Term Care Imperative.

As a long-term care professional, I take much pride in our profession and it excites me to know that Minnesota is taking a conscious effort of helping to attract employees to our profession.

 

Katie Davis is the campus administrator at Good Samaritan Society of Albert Lea.