Oklahoma Nursing Homes Reporting Critical Worker Shortage


Tuesday, October 26th 2021, 10:41 pm
By: Kristen Weaver


TULSA, Oklahoma -

Nursing homes are desperate to hire people.

They're having to turn seniors away because they can't find enough workers. 

Long term care directors said it's a double whammy, they can't find anyone to hire, and the workers they have need a break. 

"Until we get more staff, it limits our ability to care for more residents," said Anna Edwards.

Anna Edwards is the executive director at Beacon Ridge in Sapulpa. They care for seniors with mental health issues.

She said people are desperate for the specialized care offered and they have empty beds, but they're turning people away because of a lack of workers.  

"People want to get out," she said. "It's too stressful, it's too much, COVID-19 has changed the landscape."

Edwards said some employees quit because it was too much for them and even though they've hired some great workers during COVID-19, employees are exhausted.

"At some point when the pandemic continued on and on people started burning out," said Kimberly Green.

Kimberly Green is the COO of the Diakonos group that manages 26 long term care facilities in Oklahoma.

She said about 40 percent of their beds are available, but they're having to put seniors on a wait list.

"We have limited ability to admit," she said. "It feels like there is a backlog now."

Green said the need is critical right now and she needs people to step up and help.

A study from the National Center for Assisted Living said 99 percent of nursing homes in the US have staffing shortages and 59 percent say it's severe.

"We've never had anything like this," she said. "This is unheard of."

They said this all boils down to needing more federal funding so they can pay employees more, but for now, they're ready to hire and train people who want to make a difference.

They said if this trend continues, they may have to close some facilities, and of course that would be devastating for these seniors. 

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