The Pennsylvania Health Care Association (PHCA) held a Day of Caring at Abbeyville Skilled Nursing and Rehabilitation Center in Lancaster to express gratitude for nursing home caregivers, spotlight the importance of long-term care to our communities and raise awareness about rewarding career opportunities.
PHCA President and CEO Zach Shamberg was joined by the executive deputy secretary of the Pennsylvania Department of Health, Kristen Rodack, and Representative Ismail Smith-Wade-El (Lancaster) in volunteering their time to serve lunch to residents, while staff were treated to a catered lunch.
“This small gesture could not possibly express the level of gratitude and appreciation we all have for the men and women who are committed to caring for others each and every day — especially during the pandemic,” said Shamberg. “We are here today to remind our frontline caregivers that, even though they may no longer hear ‘health care 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.”
The need for more caregivers in long-term care is growing immensely as Pennsylvania’s senior population rapidly increases. The state’s population of residents 85 and older is expected to double by 2030. At the same time, Pennsylvania has established new regulations requiring more direct care workers in nursing facilities. Without a robust workforce, long-term care providers will continue to be forced to turn away vulnerable seniors in need of care. The 2022-23 Pennsylvania state budget delivered a long overdue Medicaid reimbursement rate increase to nursing home providers, helping to sustain operations and prepare for increased staffing requirements. Continued legislative support is still needed to overcome challenges — especially pertaining to the workforce — and deliver sustainability for long-term care well into the future.
“Last year, our legislature and Governor prioritized long-term care with a historic investment that was long overdue in supporting the continuity of care for tens of thousands of vulnerable senior citizens and adults with disabilities,” said Shamberg. “Now, we need Governor Josh Shapiro and the state legislature to build upon last year’s progress with a continued investment that will help providers secure the workers needed to meet new regulations and further invest in our heroes on the front lines of health care. Only then can we build back our workforce, and ensure our loved ones will be cared for in the years to come.”
PHCA’s Day of Caring takes place during National Skilled Nursing Care Week (May 14-20). The week is dedicated to celebrating the essential role that skilled nursing care centers play in providing high-quality 24-hour nursing care to millions of America’s seniors and individuals with disabilities. This year’s theme is, Cultivating Kindness.
Acts of kindness during PHCA’s Day of Caring included PHCA staff and elected leaders spending time with residents, taking lunch orders and serving meals. Frontline caregivers at Abbeyville Skilled Nursing and Rehabilitation Center were treated to a catered lunch from Piper Belle’s BBQ. PHCA will also be providing appreciation meals for staff at the nursing and rehabilitation center who work opposite shifts.