Report: Pennsylvania not ready for wave of older adults

Local News

HARRISBURG, Pa. (WHTM) – Pennsylvania’s auditor general is warning officials that a crisis could be looming regarding older Pennsylvanians not having enough professionals to take care of them.

Auditor General’s Eugene DePasquale on Tuesday released a special report that followed up on a 2016 audit of nursing homes oversight by the state Department of Health.

Nearly 90,000 Pennsylvanians live in more than 700 nursing homes across the state. By 2040, the report suggests, more than three million people in the state will be 65 or older and likely will need some type of care, but there may not be enough health care workers.

“If we do not act now, we will leave older adults without critical care,” DePasquale said. “Pennsylvania is on the verge of severe shortages of RNs and direct care workers. By 2026, Pennsylvania’s projected to be short, mark this down, 37,000 direct care workers.”

The report cites low wages, high physical demand, and burnout as reasons for a high turnover rate in the field.

DePasquale called for stronger collaboration between state agencies to prepare for a new wave of older Pennsylvanians. He also recommended a wage increase for those jobs, and for health care employers to work with the state university system to expand nursing programs.

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