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A Worker Shortage Is Driving US Nursing Homes to the Brink of Collapse

More than 400 facilities are at risk of closing this year. 

nursing home eldery seniro
Photographer: Bartek Sadowski/Bloomberg

Chippewa Manor’s beds could be full. The nursing and rehabilitation home is seeing plenty of demand from potential patients, after two nearby facilities recently closed. But there’s one problem: There’s no one to care for residents. 

Staffing has always been a challenge, but “it’s reached a boiling point” in the last six months, said Jill Gengler, the president of the northwest Wisconsin facility. The home has struggled to find nurses, laundry, maintenance, housekeeping and food-service workers. Raising the wage for certified nursing assistants to $17 an hour from $12 has brought in some new staffers, but the pay rate is “not sustainable.”