With 2022 recently coming to an end, there were many stand-out, notable, and newsworthy things that happened in senior healthcare in 2022. Covid vaccines and covid related news and outbreaks are high on the list, along with workforce challenges, changes in the industry, and more. In Provider Magazine, the official publication of the American Health Care Association (AHCA) and the National Center for Assisted Living (NCAL), the most viewed articles included:
- CNA wages have increased across the nation, but most notably in California, there has been a huge push to pay CNAs a living wage. The current trajectory is to have all CNAs in California earn a livable wage by 2025.
- The spread and likelihood of Covid outbreaks changed from the size of the facility being the biggest factor to the local community numbers being the largest factor in nursing home outbreaks. This means that communities that had a better handle on their Covid numbers did more to protect their local nursing and senior homes than anything that happens inside the nursing home walls.
- Most long-term and post-acute care facilities had staffing shortages in 2022. These staffing shortages had many ripple effects and lead to using staffing agencies and offering other employee perks.
- New precautions and protocols were implemented for any unvaccinated person in senior healthcare. These protocols and precautions included moving unvaccinated staff to positions where they do not work with residents face to face, in remote positions, increasing the testing frequency, and continuing to keep a social distance of at least 6 feet.
- In the past, 5-star awards and accolades were often the bars and the goal for senior healthcare facilities. In 2022, and beyond, the 5-star awards have turned into a necessity, but the bar is totally different. Nursing homes and other facilities must be much more dynamic and well-rounded in order to be competitive and have residents and staff members choose their facilities. A few of the newer focuses are the ability to serve higher acuity needs, matching today’s complex care needs, giving the residents what they want, inspiring staff, finding new revenue streams, and more.
- The American Health Care Association (AHCA) requested a meeting with the US Department of Health and Human Services (HHS), The White House, and CMS. This meeting impacted and informed inaccuracies with the president’s nursing home reform agenda. Some of the topics discussed were the quality of nursing care, Covid related issues, and underfunding.
These important articles really highlighted the challenges in senior healthcare. Occupancy continues to be low, 87% of facilities are understaffed, Covid outbreaks and protocols are still at the forefront of management duties and responsibilities, and leaders in nursing homes and other senior healthcare are working and lobbying to get more government funding. 2022 brought about a lot of change in the industry and 2023 brings more promise and opportunity.