Limiting Access to Care for Seniors

The COVID-19 pandemic has stretched long term caregivers and resources thin. Staffing shortages and a lack of government funding is making it hard for nursing homes and assisted living communities to keep their doors open.

Without government assistance, more facilities may have to close, threatening access to care for hundreds of thousands of vulnerable seniors and individuals with disabilities.

The Numbers

The Impact

Closing a long term care facility is devasting to residents, families, staff, and the entire health care system.

  • Vulnerable residents are displaced from their long-standing communities and loved ones. Closures reduce their options for quality care, especially in rural areas. Having to move to a new facility can be incredibly disruptive to a resident’s physical and emotional health.
  • Families are left scrambling to find new care options and often must travel farther to visit their loved one.
  • Dedicated caregivers are out of a job and unable to assist the residents they have come to know as family.
  • The entire health care system suffers as hospitals and other providers struggle to find proper placement for their patients who are ready to be discharged. Keeping these patients can be more costly to the overall system.
Why Are Nursing Homes Closing?

Long term care facilities have spent tens of billions on routine testing, PPE, and staff support to protect residents from COVID-19. Federal aid has been helpful, but it has not matched the extensive, ongoing costs necessary to fight the virus.

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Most residents rely on Medicaid to cover their nursing home care, but the program only funds nursing homes 70-80% of the actual cost it takes to provide that care. This meant the average nursing home barely broke even prior to the pandemic.

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Due to the pandemic, facilities are seeing fewer new patients coming from the hospital and the community. The sector’s economic recovery has been slow and census is still well below pre-pandemic levels.

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Facing historic staffing shortages, providers are dedicating every possible resource to recruit and retain staff—from increasing wages to paying expensive temporary agencies to help fill shifts.

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Only 25% of nursing homes and assisted living facilities are confident they will operate through next year.