Florida long-term care facilities face workforce shortage amid COVID-19 pandemic

92% of Florida’s long-term care facilities are facing significant workforce shortages

ORANGE COUNTY, Fla. – A survey released by the Florida Health Care Association found 92% of Florida’s long-term care facilities are facing significant workforce shortages.

Twenty-three assisted living facilities and 310 nursing homes were polled about the challenges to meet the demands of Florida’s aging population.

Director of Communication Kristen Knapp said the significant staffing issues can be attributed to the pandemic.

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“Staff [members] are burnt out, they’re leaving the profession or just having to stay home with childcare issues and now with [COVID-19] cases increasing staff are sick or family members are sick,” Knapp said.

The survey’s response reveals long-term facilities are not unlike other industries hit hard by the pandemic.

“It’s a crisis we’re not like your typical restaurant industry or like Chick-fil-A that can close their dining room if they want for a few hours and just operate the drive-thru, we’re caring for people, these are people’s lives,” Knapp said.

The survey shows 88% of long-term care facilities reported their workforce has decreased since 2020. In Central Florida at least 165 nursing homes and assisted living facilities have been impacted.

“Now with hospitalizations up ticking and elective surgeries being put on pause that doesn’t help our occupancy which is one way we are able to recoup our costs,” Knapp said.

Knapp said FHCA already saw expenses and tremendous challenges before the COVID-19 pandemic but said the pandemic certainly exacerbated that.