Skilled Nursing Must-Reads: Immigration Worries, Fire in Japan

As we enter another week, take a minute to catch up with some of the biggest skilled nursing stories from around the internet and the world.

Immigration pressures 

The New York Times explored the effects of the Trump administration’s immigration policies on the long-term care industry, in particular shining a light on the so-called “gray market” — personal care aides who contract directly with patients to provide in-home care services.

Whereas the Paraprofessional Healthcare Institute (PHI) has determined that one in four direct care workers, including nursing home staff and home-based caregivers, are immigrants, the Times points out that the proportion is likely higher among participants in the gray market.

But the hiring pressures in Trump’s America also extend to the skilled nursing world. The Times spoke with Mary DiGangi, an HR director for the Menorah Center for Rehabilitation and Nursing Care in Brooklyn. DiGangi routinely puts out requests for 20 to 25 nursing assistants and licensed practical nurses to employment agencies, according to the Times, and she usually receives multiple applications within a day.

For the most recent request, it took her a month to get five applicants.

Part of the problem: The Trump administration’s position toward immigrants from Haiti, El Salvador, Nicaragua, and Honduras, who account for about 35,000 health aides and nursing assistants. Under Trump, the Department of Homeland Security has ended temporary protected status (TPS) for members of the first three groups, meaning they will soon have to depart the country or face undocumented status.

“This is going to create tremendous strain,” LeadingAge researcher Robyn Stone told the Times. “We’ve heard of nursing homes that have shut down, or stopped admissions, because they could not hire enough people.”

Elder home fire in Japan claims 11

Just a week after a fire at a conjoined hospital and nursing facility in South Korea made headlines with 37 deaths — none from the nursing side — another elder-care fire hit Asia, this time in Japan.

Eleven people died last week at a welfare home designed for older residents of Sapporo, according to multiple news reports. While some of the residents received nursing care, the facility was not staffed at night, CBS News reported.

The facility, where people ages 40 to 80 can stay for about $330 per week, did not have fire sprinklers.

Fire safety protocols have taken on added importance in the United States in the wake of the Barclay Friends fire in Pennsylvania last year, which displaced 133 residents with four deaths. While that property was up to code, some officials said the disaster could prompt updates to fire-safety protocols locally and nationally.

Written by Alex Spanko

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Alex Spanko
Assistant Editor at Aging Media Network
Alex covers the skilled nursing and reverse mortgage industries for Aging Media. Outside of work, he reads nonfiction, yells at Mets games from his couch, and enjoys pretty much any type of whiskey or scotch — often all at once.