Why Are Post-Acute Care Staff in High Demand?

Why Are Post-Acute Care Staff in High Demand?

The need for post-acute care over the next decade is going to require a massive influx of qualified and caring healthcare workers. While more people are living longer and independent lives, there will be an increased demand for post-acute care staff. Inpatient facilities, long-term care hospitals, and in-home professionals will need more staff members than ever before to treat the growing number of older patients who require care.

This high demand for post-acute care workers means that job growth will continue to increase rapidly, just as it did over the past decade. Even the recession could not stop this hiring growth. Between 2007-2010, 84,000 new jobs (a 13% increase) were added to the senior living industry. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), senior and assisted living jobs increased by 70% from 2001 to 2014.

These impressive growth numbers are just the beginning for an industry that is exploding with higher demands for qualified post-acute staff and caregivers. According to BLS, the biggest employment boom will be seen over the next six years in the home healthcare industry with a 60% increase in jobs. This is followed by a 30% increase at residential care communities and a 20% increase at nursing care facilities.

A recent study conducted by the University of California, San Francisco projects that 2.5 million more healthcare jobs will need to be filled to assist an aging U.S. population by 2030. Argentum (formerly ALFA) also projects that 460,000 CNAs/AIDEs and 25,600 RNs will need to enter the workforce by 2025. However, this incredible job growth will still not even come close to fulfilling the higher demands, as the future caregiver to patient ratios are expected to decrease from 7:1 to 3:1 in under 25 years.

One issue causing this supply and demand problem is the high turnover rate for workers in the healthcare industry. According to a report by the Hospital and Healthcare Compensation Service, CNAs have the highest turnover rates at 36.5%, followed by RNs at 29%, and LPNs at 26.1%. Some suggest that this is a problem that starts at the recruiting stage, with facilities hiring candidates too quickly out of need rather than finding the right person for the right job, increasing the likelihood that they will stay long-term. This revolving door method leads to the majority of new hires leaving within the first 90 days.

Another issue is the high number of healthcare workers who are nearing the end of their careers. According to Argentumtwo-thirds of RNs over the age of 53 are currently considering retirement. And the majority (62%) are planning to do so in the next three years. With the combination of more aging Americans, unsatisfied workers, and a generation of retiring caregivers, the demand for qualified candidates will continue to grow exponentially.

What this means is that recruitment efforts for the millennial generation should be highly focused on attracting, recruiting, and retaining healthcare staff. While millennials sometimes get a bad rap, they are a generation that cares about making a difference and caring for others, which is just what the industry needs. By communicating with millennials on their own turf (social media and mobile technologies), the industry can attract the next generation of post-acute care employees it desperately needs.

This article was originally published by Meghan Doherty here.