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At-home health care providers experiencing a shortage of caregivers

Caregiver Shortage
Posted at 10:48 PM, Nov 02, 2021
and last updated 2021-11-03 10:03:12-04

GREEN BAY (NBC 26) — Local home health care providers say that a lack of caregivers is making it difficult to meet the needs of those who depend on at-home care.

“We do everything from a three hour shift of companionship and light housekeeping to 24/7 care for people who need that round-the-clock care, people who have dementia, people who have physical limitations,” said Home Instead general manager Angela Shinner.

Providing that 24/7 care is no easy task with a shortage of caregivers. Home health care providers say it’s a daily struggle to fill shifts.

“It can be stressful for the staff, calling around to current caregivers, trying to fill shifts," said Sarah McRae, an employee development team leader at Helping Hands. "We do actually have a couple people within our facility that just do shifts. They’re internal caregivers.” 

McRae says the shortage is especially frustrating for the clients who depend on at-home care. Many of them don't have family caregivers and need assistance with daily activities.

“These clients need assistance being able to bathe, being able to do their housework. I actually had a client that told me to say absolutely we need these people in here," McRae said. "She has a lot of pain so it’s hard for her to move around. She needs that caregiver in there just to keep up with her house." 

The shortage is also preventing many providers from taking on new clients.

“We are doing our best to accept new clients but we don’t necessarily have enough caregivers to fill those clients,” McRae said.

In addition, providers say the pandemic has caused a spike in demand as many clients are opting for at-home care in place of assisted living facilities due to concerns with COVID-19.

“We have seen a great influx in the number of clients we’re taking on," Shinner said. "We know that people want to stay in their home and we feel that’s the best place for people to be.” 

In the meantime, providers say they’re doing everything they can to recruit new hires.

“We’re always trying new things to try and help people understand what a gift this is to be able to help somebody with care," Shinner said. "It is a meaningful and purposeful job and a lot of people are looking for that these days.” 

No experience is necessary to apply to be a caregiver at Home Instead and Helping Hands. Interested applicants can apply at the Home Instead and Helping Hands websites.