welcome mat in front of a door

Refugees from Ukraine could find a career path in the U.S. long-term care industry. The American Health Care Association / National Center for Assisted Living is working with the International Rescue Committee and Welcome.US to help refugees, and AHCA / NCAL also is working closely with its state affiliates and local refugee offices on potential career-related partnerships, the organization said.

“As the situation in Ukraine continues to evolve, we are ready to embrace Ukrainian and all refugees — our new neighbors — as part of our long-term care family and offer the training and support they need to be successful,” AHCA / NCAL President and CEO Mark Parkinson said Thursday. 

No one wishes to leave their home, but we must do everything we can to support them during this trying time,” Parkinson said. “The diversity of career paths within long-term care means there is something for everyone, and we welcome them with open arms,” he added.

The initiative builds on Operation Allies Welcome, an effort by the White House to support Afghan refugees as they resettle in the United States. AHCA / NCAL participated in a virtual roundtable discussion last fall with the White House and CEOs from major U.S. companies to look at possibilities for assisting the refugees.

Foreign-born individuals already represent a significant segment of the long-term care workforce, according to a LeadingAge spokesperson.

“LeadingAge national and our members continue to be committed to work with  resettlement groups and other organizations to both improve refugees’ situations,” the spokesperson told the McKnight’s Business Daily.

Helping refugees is in keeping with the long-term care industry’s battle cry for common sense immigration reform to help assuage the workforce shortage in the United States that began before the crisis in Ukraine. In November, a coalition of the leaders from AHCA / NCAL, Argentem, the Association of Jewish Aging Services, LeadingAge and the American Seniors Housing Association wrote to Secretary of State Antony Blinken highlighting the need to prioritize visas for healthcare workers who wish to live and work in the United States, especially those who care for older adults. The groups at the time suggested prioritizing immigrant visas for nurses, waiving the immigrant visa interview and expanding in-person interviews to virtual/video conferencing.

The LeadingAge spokesperson said that the organization last week sent a letter to President Biden “urging him to take a bold, all-of-government approach to ensure consistently high-quality nursing home care – and to make the staffing crisis priority No. 1.”

A spokesperson for Argentum told the McKnight’s Business Daily: “We offer our heartfelt support for those suffering in the Ukraine and the plight of those refugees fleeing the country. We stand ready to help in any pertinent way.”