Caregiver shortage a problem in Dayton area

Credit: DaytonDailyNews

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Caregiver shortage a problem in Dayton area

Credit: DaytonDailyNews

Area Agency on Aging seeking answers with fellowship

Long-term care providers, from nursing homes to assisted living centers to home health agencies, are struggling to hire and retain enough workers to care for aging Dayton-area residents.

In light of this, the Area Agency on Aging is seeking solutions to the long-term care workforce needs in the region,

“Right now there is an incredible shortage of paid caregivers,” said Doug McGarry, executive director of the Area Agency on Aging that serves West Central Ohio.

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Some of the types of workers these groups are seeking to hire include home health aides, nurse aides, and registered nurses.

The Area Agency on Aging plans to hire a person as part of a fellowship provided through the Dayton Foundation’s Del Mar Encore Fellows Initiative, which hires older professionals to work for nonprofits and seek solutions for community issues. People can apply for the fellowship through daytonfoundation.org or by calling (937) 225-9949.

The fellow will work with the Area Agency on Aging to research, define and measure the scope of the current challenge to find and keep workers who provide direct services to older adults in the region.

The fellow will evaluate the long-term care workforce shortage among the agency’s providers who deliver contracted services in Clark, Greene and Montgomery counties.

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Dayton-area long-term care providers aren’t the only ones who say they are having trouble with recruitment and retention. National and state trade associations for long-term care providers also say their members face work force challenges.

In a 2016 workforce study surveying different Ohio long‐term care associations’ members, 57 percent of hospice and home health agencies reported they have fewer home health aides than planned, 40 percent of hospice and home health agencies reported no applicants for certain positions.

At assisted living facilities and nursing homes in the survey, 7 of 10 STNAs who left their job did so to seek better pay, 75 percent of nursing facilities and assisted living facilities have fewer STNAs than planned and 20 percent had no applicants for certain positions.

The report stated that many providers rely on overtime, double shifts, and other strategies to meet caregiving needs, and nearly 1 in 5 providers in the survey reported limiting services due to inability to find staff to provide the services.

McGarry said the Area Agency on Aging wants to find someone with business experience for the fellowship who can use that background to help find solutions.

This is important for the Area Agency on Aging, McGarry said, because one of the agency’s main goals is to support local people who want to provide care in their own homes and to support family caregivers, which includes connecting families with paid caregivers for support.

In the Dayton metro area, nursing assistants make $13.26 an hour on average and home health aides made $11.04 an hour on average, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics.

MORE: Local nursing homes struggle with staffing. Here’s what we know.

Steve Throop, president of the Miami Valley Long-Term Care Association, said it is difficult to hire during a strong economy when other businesses are hiring entry level workers for similar or higher wages and those jobs might be less stressful than long-term care.

Throop, who is also executive director at Legacy Village in Xenia, said that’s why he is looking for workers who find meaning working in the field. Legacy Village, which has assisted living, memory care and independently living options, has about 60 employees.

“We’re looking for people who have a lot of care, compassion and concern,” he said. “We’re looking for people that see health care as a calling.”


Ohio long term care workforce: By the numbers

3,770: Home health aides in Dayton metro

$11.04: Average home health aide wage in Dayton metro

4,960: Nurse aides in Dayton metro

$13.26: Average nurse aide wage in Dayton metro

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