Staffing shortages hitting nursing homes; leaders work to increase wages

Staffing shortages are hitting the facility hard with a number of employees juggling multiple roles.
Published: Oct. 27, 2022 at 5:43 PM CDT
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Spring Valley, Minn. (KTTC) – Taking care of our aging seniors is a crucial job, but workers are becoming harder to come by as the cost of living continues to increase.

“A lot has changed in a short time, but our rates haven’t changed,” Spring Valley Living patient services vice president Heather Sellers said.

Spring Valley Living cares for 75 residents with a capacity to care for 107.

“It’s hard work, and it requires dedicated staff. Sometimes it’s just a little easier to get a job at a gas station that pays the same,” Sellers said.

Staffing shortages are hitting the facility hard with a number of employees juggling multiple roles.

“Our dietary director is working on the floor, our director of nursing is working on the floor, our assistant director of nursing is working on the floor,” Sellers said.

Assisted living leaders are reaching out to their local lawmakers for new legislation to increase wages.

“Supporting nursing homes is a huge priority for me personally, so it’s important for me to get out and visit folks,” Senate Majority Leader Jeremy Miller said.

“It was just reassuring knowing that the residents and staff are being seen by the legislature and excited that they’re willing to go into the next session and try to finish up what they started in the last,” Sellers said.

Sen. Miller toured Spring Valley Living Thursday and sat down with facility leaders to hear their concerns.

“I really think to hear directly from them how important it is to get this care and really these important services that they depend on,” he said.

So despite the hard work and non-competitive wages, what keeps the employees going to work every day?

“The residents. I think the bond that the staff have with the residents keeps them in the game and they don’t want to quit on them,” Sellers said.

Last legislative session, the State Senate pass a bill to support nursing homes as well as disability service providers to increase funding and wages as well as reduce regulatory burdens like an excess of paperwork. The house didn’t act on the bill, so it wasn’t put into law. Sen. Miller says he will continue this work in this in the upcoming session.