Nursing Shortage Could Affect Senior Living Centers

Nursing Shortage to Affect Health Care Facilities and Senior LivingNursing Shortage Could Affect Senior Living Centers

Among the healthcare changes that will be implemented over the next few years, physicians and nurses will be stretched to accommodate thousands more that will acquire healthcare in the Patient Care and Affordable Care Act. The surge is expected to cause a shortage of nursing staff that could affect the senior living industry.

Despite a 5 percent increase in baccalaureate nursing programs in 2011, the American Association of Colleges of Nursing said the increase will not be enough to keep up with expanding healthcare needs.

One estimate by the American College of Medical Quality reported that we could face a shortage of nearly one million nurses by 2030. The Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) predicts the number of registered nursing positions will increase by 26 percent between 2010 and 2020.

The current nursing population is aging, with an average age of 44.5- according to BLS, there aren’t enough students to replace the nurses who will retire. And colleges are struggling to keep up with demand of educating new nurses. U.S. nursing schools turned away 75,587 qualified applicants due to insufficient faculty, clinical sites, classroom space, and budget constraints.

The shortage could be increasingly problematic in primary care settings. As healthcare becomes increasingly expensive it is expected that nurses and physician assistants will provide more direct care in areas that don’t require specialization. They don’t require as much schooling and can provide care at a lower price than with an M.D. However, in senior living communities where general care is a large, necessary component, the nursing shortage could be felt even more severely.

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