DAYTON, OHIO (WDTN) – In a recent report from The National Center for Assisted Living, it’s estimated 56% of assisted living providers fear closing their doors could become a reality by the end of the year due to COVID-19. “There’s no question that this is a very challenging time for the nursing home and assisted living industry for a number of reasons,” said Miami University Long-Term Care Professor Dr. Rob Applebaum.

Applebaum says statistically nearly 40% of all COVID-19 related deaths occurred in nursing homes or assisted living facilities. Working to protect the people living in these places is becoming costly. “PPE obvious thing. Having to buy gowns, masks, gloves, and everything is extremely costly,” said Executive Director of Ohio AHCA Pete Van Runkle.

Van Runkle says because many people in the long-term care facility are receiving unemployment compensation that may even be more than they’d make pre-covid, many people see no need to go back to work right now. “When someone can stay home and get paid almost as much or maybe even more than to work with folks than potentially to be exposed, that’s hard competition,” said Van Runkle.

Due to this, many nursing homes are struggling to find workers to care for those living at the facilities. “Almost 43 percent of nursing homes have reported staff shortages,” said Applebaum. Both Applebaum and Van Runkle are concerned if the facilities closed, then displaced elderly will suffer.

Applebaum suggests that federal and state authorities take a stand, making it a priority to help these facilities. “To the extent that we need to support the industry to keep facilities in play,” said Applebaum.