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Worker Shortage Plagues Long-Term Care Industry

A recent article in McKnight’s Long-Term Care News warns of a potential worker shortage in the long-term care industry to low wages and a lack of respect for direct-care workers. According to one expert, by 2030, there will be a nationwide shortage of 151,000 direct care workers and 3.8 million unpaid family caregivers. By 2040, the shortage of direct care workers will climb to 355,000. However, the expert cautions, these figures are conservative, based on the number of families currently willing to provide unpaid care and no changes to current immigration policies. As a result, particularly due to recent and upcoming changes in American immigration policy, the shortage of direct care workers could be much higher.

Back in 2015, 18% of certified nursing assistants (CNA) and 27% of home care aides were immigrants. With the impending shortage of direct care workers, the long-term care industry is supporting legislation to bring more immigrant nurses and physical therapists to the U.S. in order to successfully fill the estimated four million workers that will be necessary by 2050.

Furthermore, low caregiver wages remain a real problem. The median annual income for a CNA is $20,000 and for a home care aide, $15,000. Aside from the fact that wages for direct care workers are traditionally low, it is difficult for wages to increase due to low and unchanging Medicaid reimbursement rates. Two-thirds of long-term care expenses are paid by the Medicaid program. One solution may be to increase the responsibilities of direct care workers and create opportunities for advancement for them.

If long-term facility care should lead to financial exploitation, physical or emotional abuse or injuries, you may have legal grounds for a lawsuit against the individual and agency that allowed the abuse or neglect to occur. If you or a loved one is in this situation, you immediately should contact an experienced Wisconsin long-term care attorney at Boller & Vaughan. We know how to protect your rights and potentially get you compensation for any injuries that occurred. When professional caregivers fail to meet the duty of care owed to you or your loved one, it is up to you to hold negligent Wisconsin home health care agencies and nursing facilities responsible for their actions. Contact Boller & Vaughan today and see what assistance we can offer you and your family.