Home health agencies already consistently say that staffing is their greatest challenge, and the issue may only get worse in the coming years. While a potential shortage of home health aides and personal caregivers already has been called a “crisis,” many areas of the country also are staring down the barrel of registered nurse (RN) shortages.
The RN dilemma is particularly acute in Arizona, with a predicted shortfall of 28,100 registered nurses within the next decade. That’s according to a newly released graphic from the Georgetown University School of Nursing & Health Studies, based on data from a 2014 report from the U.S. Health Resources and Services Administration (HRSA).
Other states facing acute shortages include North Carolina, Colorado, and Maryland. The Rust Belt and Midwest appear to be in better shape, with Ohio, Pennsylvania, and Iowa having the largest RN surpluses.
Restricted practice laws could exacerbate the RN shortage in certain states, such as California, because these regulations put limitations on the types of services that can be provided by RNs who have become nurse practitioners (NPs). Home health organizations such as the National Association for Home Care & Hospice (NAHC) and the Visiting Nurse Associations of America (VNAA) have pushed for nurses to be more empowered, including through federal laws that would enable NPs and advanced practice nurses to sign Medicare home health plans of care.
Factors driving the RN shortfalls include a demanding job environment and inconsistent wages, according to a Feb. 8 Georgetown blog post.
Written by Tim Mullaney