Why are assisted living facilities facing a staffing shortage?

Why are assisted living facilities facing a staffing shortage?

Health visitor and a senior woman during home visit.

The current market has created several challenges for many industries, but few have been hit as hard as the assisted living industry. 

According to a National Health Care Association March 2022 report, nursing homes have lost 241,000 caregivers since the start of the pandemic, and the entire long-term care industry is facing a 15-year labor low. 

This, along with additional cost burden, new technologies and a lack of the right-fit staff, makes this a challenging industry to find full-time staff. We’ve broken down some of the reasons why the industry is facing a staffing shortage. 


According to an American Health Care Association and National Center for Assisted Living survey, 77% of senior care workers say the overall workforce situation has gotten “much worse” since the summer of 2021. Staffing is an issue in just about any industry right now, but what is unique about assisted living facilities is the types of staff you need to hire to run your business.

An assisted living runs 24/7, and you can’t run a 24/7 operation without having a lot of staff members. This consists of medical professionals, caregivers and aides, as well as maintenance, cafeteria and meal prep, administrative workers, etc. And it’s getting harder to find them. According to the survey mentioned previously, 71% of the survey’s respondents lay the blame on a lack of interested or qualified candidates.

These assisted living facilities have to find the right combination of interested and empathetic, qualified, credentialed staff that fit in with their company’s culture. They also have to do this while offering competitive pay and benefits. You can see how these challenges start to add up. 


Transparency is never a bad thing, but it is another challenge that these facilities end up facing. More families are installing cameras to make sure residents are getting the level of care they are paying for. The owners of these assisted living facilities will also be using these additional technologies. Facilities and employees are being held accountable, and they should. The new technology has the benefit of inviting the right types of candidates for these careers. 


Everything costs more. It’s harder to run facilities and manage the cost of overhead along with these staffing issues. In addition to that, many assisted living facilities get the help of staffing companies and that cost burden may require you to pay 20-30% more than what it would cost you to hire people on your own. 


You want to hire people and create a culture where people are excited to go work for your facility. You want a staff that is passionate about serving those in long-term care. It needs to be more than a job, and that starts with having leadership in place that sets those expectations.


Working at an assisted living facility is not an easy job, but many great employees do this work day in and day out. The responsibility falls on a hiring manager to find new ways to attract and retain these employees. 

It costs a lot more to handle employee turnover than to make a hire and keep employees happy and well-trained. Now, it’s just going to require leadership to identify their business’ greatest needs and find the best pathway to match qualified employees that meet those specific needs. 

We have a long history of working with clients in the long-term care industry. We have solutions that can help relieve you of the stress and HR burden that comes along with building a full-time staff of employees at an assisted living facility. Read more about how we can take the daily HR and payroll tasks from your plate so you can focus on other challenges facing your business.

Posted Oct 27, 2022
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