To overcome staffing shortages common in long-term care, operators will need to provide adequate pay and benefits, safe working conditions and career structures that enable advancement that will ensure quality care and personal safety for residents, according to the AARP Executive Vice President and Chief Advocacy and Engagement Officer Nancy LeaMond.
“The pandemic has dramatized the value of frontline and essential-care workers, a generally low-paid group that soldiers on for all of our benefit,” she wrote in a recent post.
Older adults also need choices for congregate living that are “more intimate, less institutional environments,” LeaMond said. Regardless of choice, however, “adequate staffing must be in place to ensure quality care and personal safety,” she added, and technology that helps combat loneliness and isolation will continue to be important.
Beyond that, according to the AARP, other ways to improve the entire long-term care system are to enhance coverage of home- and community-based services; create accessible and affordable long-term care options in urban and rural areas, to fight entrenched health disparities; and support family caregivers.