San Diego senior care: as nation ages, nursing homes experience labor shortage
By Colleen Van Horn, RN, B.S.N., PHN, CCM
Both across the nation and right here in San Diego, senior care demands are set to soar in the coming years. This prediction poses trouble for some assisted living facilities according to a recent report for the Wall Street Journal.
Worker turnover and roadblocks to wage increases
As the senior population grows, high turnover rates and low pay are simultaneously thinning the ranks of nursing aides employed to care for the elderly. The WSJ report indicates that between 43% and 75% of nursing aides leave their jobs each year – a trend that experts associate with increased industry costs and decreased quality of care. And while increased pay for senior care workers would seem like an effective solution (current wages come in at only $11.74 per hour according to the U.S. Labor Department), reductions in Medicare and Medicaid reimbursements have made it impossible for many employers to follow through with such a plan.
Employee risk and working conditions
In addition to wage issues, on-the-job injury is another factor contributing to nurse aid turnover. In a response to the WSJ report, Senior Housing News notes that nursing aides have a higher rate of workplace injury than those in ostensibly higher-risk occupations, such as construction workers and manufacturers. Why? A combination of heavy lifting and physical violence from some patients (especially those with certain types of dementia) results in a high frequency of absence due to nonfatal injuries and chronic health problems – yet another cause for senior care workers to leave their jobs.
Alternative solutions: in-home caregivers and geriatric care managers
In the face of these challenges to effective and affordable assisted living for seniors, many families may be seeking alternatives to placing their loved ones in a nursing home. For those who would prefer to arrange in-home care for their aging parents or family members, individualized geriatric care management can be the ideal solution: skilled case managers work with families one-on-one to assess a senior’s needs and goals, then present a range of options including home care, assisted living and community resources to help find a plan that fits each individual’s lifestyle and budget.
At Innovative Healthcare Consultants, we provide expert geriatric care management services in Del Mar, La Jolla, Carlsbad and throughout San Diego and Riverside Counties. Our talented professionals work with clients to determine whether or not assisted living is necessary – and if so, how to balance appropriate care with each family’s unique priorities. To learn more about San Diego senior care with Innovative Healthcare Consultants, contact us online today: visit www.innovativehc.com.
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