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Home health care companies forced to turn down patients due to worker shortage

Published: Sep. 21, 2021 at 5:28 PM MST
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TUCSON, Ariz. (KOLD News 13) - The COVID-19 pandemic is causing another shortage. This time it’s home health care workers.

Some of the most vulnerable members of our community are finding themselves unable to get the care they need. Nationwide, home health care companies are being forced to turn down patients because they don’t have enough staff to take care of them.

“When somebody needs care, when they’re being discharged from a rehab facility, or whatever the scenario is, when somebody needs care they usually need it right away. And that’s hurting me because my heart and soul goes into this business,” Tina Gillette, owner of Senior HomeCare of Tucson, says.

It’s been nearly impossible to find employees. She says they’ve had applicants, but the problem is, they don’t show up for interviews or training.

“It’s really had a profound impact on the agency. Typically we’ve trained 7 to 12 people per week and now we’re lucky to get one to two applicants,” Gillette says.

“We’ve had 108 active applicants within the last week. I’ve contacted 102. I’ve rejected six just because they didn’t meet what we were looking for. Of all of those I’ve contacted, I’ve had a response from one,” Janey Russell, recruitment manager for Senior HomeCare of Tucson, explains.

Because of the shortage, they’re teaming up with other home health companies.

“We have turned some clients down because the other agencies don’t have the workforce either,” Gillette says.

The company is doing all it can to encourage more certified nursing assistants to apply, but they just can’t compete with bigger companies.

“We’re a locally owned and operated business, so the only way we can get the caregivers in is to pay them more and unfortunately that would mean raising the price to the clients,” Gillette says.

Right now, the patient waiting list is three weeks out.

Senior HomeCare of Tucson is actively hiring. You can find the application here.

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