Illinois House committee looks to strengthen the long-term care workforce



(The Center Square) – An Illinois House committee is investigating how to address shortages in the number of long-term care workers.

Illinois House and Human Services Committee members met on Tuesday with officials representing long-term care workers who work at a residential facility, such as an assisted living facility or a nursing home.

State Rep. Anna Moeller, D-Elgin, said strides have been made, but more needs to be done.

“In Illinois, we have made some progress to ensuring that we have the workforce that we need to care for our elderly and individuals with disabilities in our state,” Moeller said. “But we know that we are facing a workforce crisis.”

Moeller said the point of the committee hearing is to develop strategies to retain workers.

“There is more that we can probably be doing as a state and a legislature to help attract, retain and support this critical workforce in our state,” Moeller said.

Kelly Richards, who took part in the hearing as an official representing long-term care workers, said one of the biggest complaints they receive has to do with a lack of staff on call.

“We know one care indicator is staffing levels,” Richards said. “One of our top complaints received in the ombudsman program last year was call lights unanswered.”

According to the Illinois Department of Health and Human Services, Illinois also faces a shortage of workers in its behavioral health facilities as the state has only 13.8 behavioral health care professionals for every 10,000 residents.

The Illinois House and Human Services Committee plans to meet again to address the shortage further.

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