JOPLIN, Mo. (KSNF/KODE) — If you don’t already have a loved one in a nursing home, it may only be a matter of time before that eventually happens. But there’s a problem facing that industry that some say is getting worse by the year.

A new, national survey shows 94% of nursing homes face staffing shortages, including here in the four states. That’s why you can see signs up at many four states nursing facilities, including the Joplin Health and Rehab Center.

“We’re giving, like many other businesses, exceptional bonuses to join our team,” Michael Harrison, Administrator of Joplin Health & Rehab Center, said.

Many in the field say a shortage of workers was a problem that existed before the pandemic, and it hasn’t improved.

Harrison says there’s been a shortage of certain types of health care workers for a decade. And he says his company is going out of its way to try and reverse that trend.

“We are aggressively looking for those, we are giving tremendous sign-on bonuses, we’re training for them, our company here in Joplin can train CNAs, CMTs, we pay for their training, we pay them while they go to school,” Harrison said.

The National Association of Health Care Assistance represents more than 26,000 certified nursing assistants.

CNAs make up the bulk of employees that work in nursing homes. And Dane Henning claims a shortage of them cost American lives.

“The problem of our staffing crisis that we’re currently in America’s nursing homes, it needs to be resolved and needs to be resolved now, it needed to be resolved before COVID, in fact, if we would have had a decent staffing percentage going into COVID, we could have saved a lot of lives, during COVID, and so now that it’s getting worse, let’s go ahead and get this thing fixed and not sweep this thing under the rug,” Dane Henning, Director of the National Association of Health Care Assistants. said.

And with the aging of the Baby Boomer generation, he says now is the time to solve it once and for all.

“Because nursing homes are impacted so much by state funding or government funding, that we need to make sure they have plenty of funding going in,” Henning said.

For that, he says now it the time to contact your state and federal lawmakers.