COLUMBUS, Ohio — There's a staffing crisis in many senior care communities throughout the country, including the state of Ohio.
According to Pete Van Runkle, Executive Director of the Ohio Health Care Association, the pandemic has devastated health care provider staffing.
"It's an emergency," Van Runkle told 3News. "We've lost a lot of staff. I was talking to member this morning and they said they were paying starting nursing assistants $18 an hour or $18.25, and that's 50% higher than they would have made pre-pandemic.”
Gov. Mike DeWine even took to twitter over the issue, writing, "There are many opportunities in the aging field in senior living and assisted living communities, hospitals, long-term care, and other workplaces."
Van Runkle says the problem comes down to wear and tear on the staff, new rules like wearing N95 masks and PPE all day, and weekly coronavirus testing.
"You couple that with the unemployment system that we have, where they've continued temporary unemployment compensation, so folks that are making $12 an hour can do pretty well on unemployment," he added.
Caroline James works in a senior living community and knows the need that exists for thousands of families. Her grandmother was once in assisted care before she passed away after a battle with Alzheimer's.
"She literally took her last breath with all of us surrounding her," James said. "We need people who truly care, and it's tough. It's hard, caregiving."
To see Ohio’s open jobs, log on to ohiomeansjobs.ohio.gov.