PHCA’s Day of Caring event offers support, gratitude to nursing home workers
Advocates and elected officials highlight the importance of long-term care by working alongside staff, spending time with residents
HARRISBURG, Pa. (September 7, 2022) – The COVID-19 pandemic has exacerbated the workforce crisis in long-term care, overwhelming the remaining workforce and jeopardizing access to care for seniors and adults with disabilities throughout Pennsylvania. The Pennsylvania Health Care Association (PHCA) held a Day of Caring on Wednesday at Embassy of Woodland Park nursing and rehabilitation facility in Orbisonia to shine a spotlight on workforce challenges while expressing gratitude for nursing home caregivers.
PHCA President and CEO Zach Shamberg was joined by Senator Judy Ward (Blair, Huntingdon) and Representative Rich Irvin (Huntingdon) in volunteering their time to work alongside staff and participate in crafts and games with nursing home residents.
“This small gesture could not possibly express the level of gratitude and appreciation we all have for the men and women on the frontlines of the pandemic, and the care they provide each and every day,” said Shamberg. “We are here today to remind our frontline caregivers that, even though they may no longer hear ‘healthcare heroes’ wherever they go, what they’ve done throughout the pandemic is nothing short of heroic. The care they provide every day is greatly appreciated.”
As workforce challenges in Pennsylvania continue to grow, long-term care providers are being forced to turn away vulnerable seniors in need of care. Access to senior care in Pennsylvania is a new crisis and could become alarmingly worse as providers struggle with financial viability while investing in their current and future workforce. The 2022-23 Pennsylvania state budget delivered a long overdue Medicaid reimbursement rate increase to nursing home providers, helping them to sustain operations. Future legislative support will be needed to overcome more challenges — especially workforce challenges — and deliver sustainability for long-term care well into the future.
“Our legislature and Governor Wolf prioritized long-term care with a historic investment that will help better position Pennsylvania to where it can ensure the continuity of care for tens of thousands of vulnerable senior citizens and adults with disabilities,” said Shamberg. “But more work still needs to be done. Moving forward, we all must recognize how important long-term care is to the healthcare continuum, and do all we can to support our heroes on the front lines. Only then can we build back our workforce, and ensure our loved ones will be cared for in the years to come.”
A press conference kicked off PHCA’s Day of Caring at Embassy of Woodland Park, with remarks provided by:
- Zach Shamberg, president and CEO, Pennsylvania Health Care Association
- Angela Newman, nursing home administrator, Embassy of Woodland Park
- Prentice Thompson, chief operating officer, Embassy Healthcare
- Senator Judy Ward
- Representative Rich Irvin
Following the press conference, PHCA staff and elected leaders spent time with residents playing games and making fall crafts. The frontline caregivers at Embassy of Woodland Park were treated to a catered lunch from a local food vendor. PHCA also provided gift cards to the nursing home that can be used for appreciation meals for workers on opposite shifts.
For more information on careers in long-term care, visit pennsylvania.carefortheaging.org.
Download photos of today’s Day of Caring event from PHCA’s Dropbox folder.