Hospices Ask Patients To Wait.
“We’ve had job postings for months without any applications at all,” Dr. Kao said of Lumina, whose staff turnover has been 80 percent greater than typical. It has started to pay $2,000 bonuses to qualified nurses.
Hospice aides, who are typically licenced nursing assistants, are also being drawn away, sometimes leaving health care altogether. “It’s difficult to compete when they’re getting paid in the low double digits and Amazon pays twice that,” Mr. Banach said.
Vaccination resistance is also reducing hospice staffing in the roughly 20 states that require immunizations for health care workers, according to Leading Age, which represents nonprofit elder care providers.
Hospice groups have backed similar regulations and indicate that the majority of employees have followed them. However, losing even a few resistive hospice workers — approximately 5% in New York State so far, according to Ms. Chirico — might result in temporary closures, wait lines, or increased caseloads for the remaining staff. (Regulations for the Biden administration’s federal mandate, which governs all health care providers who accept Medicare and Medicaid funds, including hospices,)
Hospice organisations have gotten assistance through many rounds of federal pandemic relief, but Mr. Banach says they need more to reconstitute their staffs. They may also benefit from changes in immigration policy that help to increase labour force participation.
The Center for Hospice Care in northern Indiana, which treats around 2,000 patients every year, has not had to turn away any patients. However, due to a lack of staff, the smaller of its two inpatient units, a seven-bed hospice in Elkhart, has been shuttered since July.
These kinds of improvements, however, require time. Specialized training is required for hospice personnel. Even if frantic hospices could hire nurses right now, it would take many months for the majority of them to be completely prepared to work with dying patients.
“It’s going to be a rough six months,” Ms. Hansen said, but other administrators questioned found her statement encouraging.