Shortage of staff limiting local long term care facilities

Some Southern Idaho facilities say it’s difficult to compete with wage raises seen in other industries
Published: Oct. 21, 2021 at 4:59 PM MDT
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Southern Idaho (KMVT/KSVT) — Long-term care facilities, like so many industries, have been affected by labor shortages.

Matt Gaver owns assisted living facilities in Hagerman, Wendell, and Glenns Ferry. He said staffing shortages have hit the long-term care industry hard.

“We also do in-home services where we go to the client’s house and take care of them there, and we’ve probably had to drop five or six clients that we used to take care of,” he said. “We couldn’t do them anymore because we do not have the staff to actually go into their house to do it.”

Despite offering bonuses and running advertisements, he said he has 10 fewer caregivers than he did on his staff six months ago, and filling those openings has not come easy.

“It’s interesting because my employees that still work for me are my long-term employees, the employees that have been with me for multiple years,” Gaver said. “It’s the new people that come on that have quit and resigned.”

Gaver and Steve LaForte, who is the Director of Corporate Affairs for Cascadia Healthcare, point to increasing wages nationwide as one reason why they have staffing shortages. They said while other companies are raising wages in an effort to lure workers, their rates are largely by the state and federal government.

“The Amazons and McDonald’s are raising their wages to $17, $18, $20 an hour and we’re a little bit stuck in the range that we’re in,” LaForte said.

LaForte added the impacts being felt stretch far past his business. He said while they are doing everything they can within their means, labor shortages mean the capacity for care in some communities is reduced.

“We have been trying to open a COVID only building in Boise, but staffing has been an issue. Meanwhile, you have the hospitals that are full,” said LaForte. “The impact ripples both to individuals within the community and other care centers in the community.”

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