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Assisted living facilities face staffing crisis, new survey shows

According to a survey by the American Health Care Association, 87% of nursing homes are facing moderate to high staffing shortages as COVID-19 pandemic rages on.

FEDERAL WAY, Wash — Staffing shortages continue to disrupt industries across the country and one hit particularly hard is assisted living.

According to a survey by the American Health Care Association, 87% of nursing homes are facing moderate to high staffing shortages, 99% rely on staff working overtime or taking extra shifts to keep running and 70% are hiring temporary staff.

With burnout and fatigue, many people are choosing to leave the industry for other careers.

Brookdale Senior Living operates hundreds of nursing homes, assisted living and memory care facilities, including over a dozen in the Pacific Northwest.

“The Senior Living industry has the same staffing pressures that we're really seeing across other industries as well,” said Laura Fischer, Vice President of Operations for Brookdale's west division.

To manage staffing shortages, Brookdale had to turn to temporary staffing to meet needs at times. Fischer told KING 5 they are consistently evaluating how to bring people in and make them want to stay. 

“We've had to leverage other staffing agencies to come in and help us," Fischer said. "We're constantly reviewing ways to be more efficient in our communities, you know, balancing workloads, again, with the goal of ultimate meeting the needs for our residents."

Fischer said there has recently seen an uptick in applications and it's encouraging.

“We are seeing, you know, folks that did leave Brookdale or even leave the industry, you know, for various reasons, some of the challenges throughout the pandemic, but they have returned,” Fischer said. "We've seen our associate pool grow. So in order to keep that staffing solid, it's really important that we focus on retention, and it's really important that other companies just like ours do the same thing, and really adjust with the changing needs of associates and residents.”

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