Anyone seeking a medical appointment at a physician’s office may notice it is more difficult to arrange a time quickly. This is because of the current health professional shortages in many regions. Large numbers of important members of health care teams including registered nurses are retiring from their jobs.
1 Increasing Wages
The good news for health care employees today is that wages are increasing due to worker shortages. Medical facilities are struggling to find qualified employees in particular job categories including primary care physicians. In the past, individuals working in health care jobs were paid low wages, but now this is changing.
2 Poorer Care
At the same time, patients feel they are receiving poorer care because of low staffing of certified nursing assistants and registered nurses. Many members of support teams are trying to provide personal care to a higher caseload, leading to additional risks for their patients.
3 Delayed Procedures
Lack of health care professionals is causing medical facilities to delay non emergency or urgent procedures until a surgeon is available. This has dangerous consequences for patients with tumors or growths that may have cancerous cells. Delaying exploratory surgeries by weeks or months can cause patients to have serious medical complications.
4 Higher Prices
The price of health care is steadily increasing because medical facilities must pay workers higher salaries and provide more benefits. Because many surgical procedures are being delayed, patients are experiencing medical issues that take longer to heal. In addition, hospitals, physician’s offices and nursing homes are dealing with numerous expensive lawsuits filed due to lack of proper patient care.
5 Closing Facilities
Most geographic regions have standards requiring a patient to caregiver ratio to provide adequate care in medical facilities. If a nursing home or hospital is unable to hire enough trained employees, then the facility must reduce their patient load or shutdown. This leads to patients needing to travel longer distances for routine or emergency care.
6 Lowering Standards
Lowering the standards of education and experience for health care workers is often necessary in order for many medical facilities to hire enough employees. This is especially affecting the care in facilities designed to take care of senior citizens on a long-term basis.
The health care worker crisis is projected to continue due to the increasing number of older patients requiring surgical procedures and personal assistance. Medical facilities, universities and governmental agencies must work together to find ways to train more health care professionals.
Information credited to Abes, Health Care school in Calgary