The shortage of workers in nursing homes predates the pandemic, but in the past two years, this state has one of the highest proportions of elderly people in the country, and the situation has deteriorated.

A recent survey of long-term care facilities found that since the beginning of 2020, 20% of long-term care workers (representing tens of thousands of people) have left their jobs, so 85% of nursing homes in Pennsylvania are now limiting the number of new admissions. According to the investigation, the operator of a nursing home in western Pennsylvania stated that it is reducing the number of residents referred by the hospital by 80%.

“This really becomes a vicious circle. When hospitals cannot be admitted to nursing homes due to labor shortages, it creates a backlog and does have a negative impact on Pennsylvania’s acute and post-acute healthcare,” Zach Shamberg Said the president and chief executive officer of the Pennsylvania Health Care Association, a nursing home trade organization that investigates its members.

The organization said it is pressing the Wolfe government to develop a “comprehensive plan” to address the shortage of personnel, and it has proposed training members of the National Guard as temporary nurse aides in case a large-scale deployment is required.

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The National Guard occasionally performs temporary work in nursing homes. In October, a small guard contingent spent a few days at Berxheim, a county-run nursing home in Berks County, to maintain the level of staffing. Captain Travis Mueller said that currently, 21 service personnel are deployed to three personal care homes in northeastern and western Pennsylvania.

At the same time, Republican leaders in the House and Senate on Friday asked the Wolfe administration to shift the focus of the state COVID-19 task force, which has been dealing with statewide vaccine distribution, to hospitals and health. The ability of the system is challenged.

The Republican’s letter said: “The feedback we heard from local hospitals in our community is that most hospitals are operating at 110% capacity, and the number of ICU beds and medical surgery beds available every day is decreasing.”

Democrat Wolfe responded in a letter saying, “The first thing (of the convention) members can do now is to urge all eligible voters to get vaccinated.”

The vast majority of patients hospitalized with COVID-19 are not vaccinated.


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