By KIM PRUETER
Elmwood Assisted Living
NEW BREMEN – U.S. Rep. Jim Jordan recently accepted an invitation to visit Elmwood Assisted Living to discuss the effects the pandemic has had on senior care/long-term care and the current workforce shortage.
Jordan met with Kathy Hunt, owner/CEO of Elmwood Communities; Jean Thompson, executive director of Ohio Assisted Living Association; and other Elmwood team members.
Hunt expressed her concerns regarding how the current workforce shortage has affected the industry — stating that prior to the Covid-19 pandemic, the healthcare industry only had one-quarter of the workers it will need to care for the aging Baby Boomers. She explained that the pandemic further strained the workforce, causing many to take early retirement and immunocompromised workers to leave the industry.
“I am incredibly proud of our healthcare heroes. Not just at Elmwood facilities, but all across the country,” Hunt said. “I’ve been in healthcare since I was 12 years old, back when I was a nurse’s aide. Never have we had such a challenge as we do today in taking care of people.”
To help rebuild our workforce, Hunt would like to see the government focus on getting more Americans back to work in all fields, including healthcare.
“I believe the extended unemployment funding during the pandemic has discouraged people from re-entering the workforce. I also believe if we could simplify the immigration process and make it easier for healthcare workers to gain legal status in the U.S., that also could help facilities fill their many healthcare positions,” she said.
She encouraged Jordan to ensure assisted living facilities are included in any targeted relief funds the federal government offers, further explaining Elmwood’s numerous healthcare services and how important they are in each community that Elmwood serves.
“I always say that the founders in their wisdom wanted the House of Representatives to be the body closest to the people, and when you’re a representative, it’s hard to represent folks if you don’t go out in your district and see what’s going on,” Jordan said.
Elmwood Communities offers Assisted Living & Memory Care in Tiffin and New Bremen, Assisted Living & Skilled Nursing in Fremont and Adult Group Homes in Green Springs. Other services include Surest Path Recovery Centers: Inpatient Withdrawal Management and Residential Services for those with Substance Use Disorders in Bloomville and Fremont. For information, visit elmwoodcommunities.com.