Low vaccination rates exacerbate America’s caregiving crisis

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American families had a huge burden of caring for family members even before the pandemic, and the lack of professional caregivers now can only add to that burden.

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big picture: Nursing homes and other long-term care settings have seen an exodus of staff during and after the pandemic, especially as they have implemented vaccine mandates – poking new holes in a system that was already clogged.

“We have this terrible business In many parts of the country where we can either employ workers who haven’t been vaccinated and put our older adults at risk, or we can have fewer employees and that could put older adults at risk. It is,” David Grabowski, a professor of health policy at Harvard, told Nerdshala.

  • “We haven’t given importance to older adults or the people who care for them for a long time, and that’s what happens when you have an epidemic like this,” Grabowski said.

By numbers: Health care employment has decreased by 524,000 jobs since February 2020. About 80% of losses occur in nursing and residential care facilities. Last week’s jobs report showed another 38,000 job losses in nursing and residential care.

  • “We’re losing more peopleYes, we can recruit,” said Gail Kevenwald, CEO of industry trade group LeadingEdge Minnesota Minneapolis Star Tribune About concerns in your state. 7 out of 10 nursing homes and 29% of assisted-living facilities result in limited new admissions.
  • Millions of low-paid health care workers Are opting to find a new job rather than complying with the vaccine mandate.

Between the lines: The kind of care provided in nursing homes and assisted-living facilities has long been a patchwork in America

  • It’s expensive, it’s hard to get insurance coverage for it for everyone except the poorest patients, and the facilities offer a wide variety of levels of care. It has mostly been family members who have filled the gap.
  • Now families will have an even more difficult choice: to do this day-to-day task on their own; moving to facilities with fewer staff (if they can afford the bill); or risk the health of relatives in facilities that do not have vaccine mandates.
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unpaid care There is a burden that has traditionally fallen disproportionately on women – as has child care, which is facing its own pandemic crisis.

  • According to an AARP survey, more than four out of ten women have either cared for an adult family member or friend, or a child or grandchild during the pandemic. released last month. More than half of Hispanic women over 40 were caregivers during that pandemic.

Bottom-line: “Most of the paying caregivers are women, so it’s an issue of sexism that we don’t pay these workers a living wage. But because we don’t, it falls on families where most of the care is still women.” done by,” Grabowski said.

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