DENVER (CBS4) – “Before the pandemic, there was already a staffing shortage but the pandemic really lit the fuse and created a circular nightmare,” Allison Conwell with Colorado Public Interest Research Group said.

COPIRG combed through Medicaid and Medicare data and it showed that nearly one in four assisted living facilities reported a shortage of nurses. In the state, 24% of nursing homes reported a shortage by early December. Denver alone was a hotspot of shortages with 26.1% of homes indicating a shortage of nurses and aides. That’s higher than the national average of 23%.

“Home Instead’s hiring week’s goal is to hire 90 permanent caregivers,” Bill Dahlquist Home Instead President, and franchise owner said.

As concerns mount with such facilities, Home Instead Senior Care offers an alternative, and they’re seeing growth for opportunities from Fort Collins to Colorado Springs for in-home care providers. Work consists of helping seniors with housework, food and personal hygiene.

“The assisted livings and the nursing homes have had a really challenging time, people are thinking twice about moving mom into those settings,” Dahlquist added.

In-home care is only one option to limit exposure, for those who can live independently. COPIRG wants more to change.

“We are calling for more federal funding to go to nursing homes, so they can address their needs in terms of PPE and staffing shortages,” Conwell said.

COPIRG also wants the state to step in when there’s an outbreak and it stresses the importance of transparency rates in staffing and residents.

For a guide on questions, you can ask of a nursing facility at copirg.org .

To apply at Home Instead visit homeinstead.com .