Arizona is facing a shortage of caregivers in assisted living facilities

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There’s a staffing shortage at Arizona’s nursing homes and long-term care facilities, and some health officials are calling it a workforce crisis. Tonight, as part of our monthly AARP sponsored segment that highlights issues important to older adults in Arizona, we spoke to David Voepel, executive director of the Arizona Health Care Association, about just how bad the staffing shortage is.

“It’s a crisis,” Voepel said about the staffing shortage at Arizona’s nursing homes. According to Voepel, there was a crisis in caregiving before the COVID-19 pandemic hit, now it’s exponentially worse. “It’s mission driven work,” he added.

Retirement is a huge struggle within nursing homes and long-term care facility shortages. Burnout is another major factor in shortages. “Trying to get staff and keep them is just a major issue.”

Arizona has 146 skilled nursing facilities statewide. Arizona also 2600 assisted living and group homes. “It costs more to be in a skilled nursing facility,” he added.

Voepel said that rural areas are also harder to reach. “Part of the problem is medicaid pays only so much. Workers need more money.”

Voepel added that he thinks we are coming to a crossroad, but it’s a tough situation.

David Voepel, Executive Director of the Arizona Health Care Association

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