NORTH DAKOTA (KXNET) — Nearly every job industry is now facing staffing shortages and that includes long-term care facilities.

According to a study by the American Health Care Association, 99% of nursing homes and 96% of assisted living facilities in the U.S. are facing staffing shortages.

And that’s no different in North Dakota.

“We’ve lost over 1,500 individuals and the thing that’s unique about that is in the past we’ve lost people, but we always have people coming in behind them applying for jobs. And that labor market, that shortage has just stopped. Those open positions are continuing to be open. We’re not getting applicants,” said Shelly Peterson, president of the North Dakota Long Term Care Association.

Peterson says the lack of applicants and interest in working in long-term care is becoming a crisis.

She says pandemic restrictions are keeping some potential workers away.

“The vaccine requirement has saved lives. We don’t have residents dying. We don’t have residents getting really sick. It’s been stressful for staff. We still have masking 24/7 and we’re one of the few employers that require that, and it’s for safety. We’re hoping that soon that we’ll get new CMS regulations relaxing that,” said Peterson.

While many providers across the state are in need of workers, not everyone is having a hard time looking for staff.

The Executive Director of Minot Health & Rehab, says he’s fortunate to not be in need.

“We haven’t seen it as much as North Dakota has, specifically in some of the rural areas. It’s been really heartfelt to them. At times, specifically through Covid, staff could be out for 14 days, 10 days. There is a unit within North Dakota that helps assist in those staff shortage times when you have Covid outbreaks, which have been really helpful for us,” said Chris Haseleu.

Haseleu says these facilities need a sufficient amount of staff members because they’re important for older people

“Long-term care facilities are very important. As we see in aging populations, life expectancies have increased and so people need more care and services over the long term,” said Haseleu.

Most facilities around the country are looking for all shifts and all positions.

So any type of experience is welcome.

Shelly Peterson says the top positions that are in need of being filled are the more hands-on positions for residents, like nurses and nursing assistants.