The U.S. is desperately short of nurses, personal care aides, and other direct care workers who help frail older adults and younger people with disabilities manage their days. Instead of dealing with the problem, policymakers have, predictably, devolved into their usual partisan blame-mongering. Watch, if you can, this recent hearing of the House Energy and Commerce Committee on the worker shortage.

Minimum staffing requirements recently proposed by the federal government never will succeed without a sufficient pool of willing workers. Fundamentally fixing the problem will require more money—lots more—along with immigration reform, increased support for family caregivers, funding for nation-wide training of paid aides, and a top-to-bottom rethinking of the ways we provide care. In the current political environment, little of this will happen any time soon, at least at the federal level.

But three modest, low-cost experiments may help in small ways today and point the way to bigger, longer-term solutions.

The first two are based on the same premise: If the long-term care industry can’t recruit the hundreds of thousands more workers it needs, perhaps it could better leverage the staff it already has.

In other words, with better training, staff may more effectively care for residents of senior living communities—a potential win for everyone in an extremely difficult environment.

One idea, designed by a group of creative nursing home operators under the banner of the Center for Innovation, is built around interactive training modules that teach staff how to better provide true resident-centered care.

Read the full article about senior care worker shortages by Howard Gleckman at Forbes.