Well-Being Longevity

More than 8 in 10 nursing homes face staffing shortages: survey

Three years into the pandemic the staffing shortage in nursing homes is nowhere close to turning around.
File photo - nursing home residents are served lunch at the Oak Brook Healthcare Centre in Oak Brook, Ill.
File photo – nursing home residents are served lunch at the Oak Brook Healthcare Centre in Oak Brook, Ill. Charles Rex Arbogast/Associated Press

Story at a glance


  • A new survey from the American Health Care Association found that 86 percent of nursing homes in the U.S. are experiencing moderate to severe staffing shortages.  

  • The survey also found that 96 percent of nursing homes are struggling to hire additional staff.  

  • Another 78 percent of nursing homes surveyed have hired temporary agency staff.  

Most nursing homes in the United States are suffering from staff shortages and struggling to attract new employees, according to a new survey on the industry.  

Currently, 86 percent of nursing homes in the U.S are experiencing moderate to severe staffing shortages and 96 percent are struggling to hire additional staff, according to the American Health Care Association’s (AHCA) State of the Nursing Home Industry survey.  

The AHCA, a federation of state healthcare organizations that oversee about 14,000 nursing homes and assisted-living communities, surveyed 524 nursing home providers for the analysis.  

As a result, survey crafters found that staffing and economic issues are rampant throughout the industry, sparking concerns among providers that they won’t be able to comply with federal staffing mandates. 

The survey also found that 9 out of 10 nursing homes have increased their wages or offered bonuses to recruit or retain staff. But despite those efforts, 78 percent of nursing homes admitted in the survey that they have had to hire temporary agency staff to meet the needs of their facilities.  

Chronic understaffing in nursing homes has been a decade-long issue with the COVID-19 pandemic shining a light on the depth of the problem. But AHCA leadership said during a Wednesday press conference the struggle to get workers into long-term care has “never been like this.” 

In fact, 97 percent of nursing homes said that a lack of interested or qualified candidates is a “major obstacle” in hiring new nursing home or assisted living facility staff.  

“The reality is the workforce shortage is now creating serious access issues as facilities do not have the staff to care for the number of residents that they did before,” Phil Fogg, board chair at the AHCA and CEO of the Marquis Companies, said during the press conference.  

“You’re literally seeing facilities close because they cannot get the staff to not only meet their state and federal requirements but to care for the people within that community,” Fogg added.  

According to the survey, more than half of nursing homes are operating at a financial loss with 51 percent of nursing homes reporting that they do not believe they will be able to stay open for another year at their current pace.