Shortage of beds in care centers in urban areas in North Dakota

BISMARCK, N.D. - Finding a bed in a care center in the Bismarck-Mandan area can be a next to impossible task.

According to the North Dakota Long Term Care Association, average occupancy rates across the state are at 92 percent. However, in urban areas, they can be anywhere from 97 to 100 percent. The association says there's about 400 beds open on any given day. Most of those are in rural areas, forcing many to look out of town for options.

Missouri Slope Lutheran Care Center says it has to continually turn potential residents away because they have a limited number of beds available.

“It’s heart wrenching it's things that I think about and lose sleep over, it's how can I help out,” said President Reier Thompson.

Thompson says they have plans in place to build a new campus. He hopes the new North Campus will help address that issue, as well as creating a new basic care service, with all private rooms, an acute care center and more.

“Having a more efficiently designed building that will allow us to bring the services to the residents, instead of bringing residents out to services like we are now in our large building,” said Thompson.

Thompson says that construction is complete, they plan to remodel their current building to make it more efficient. Thompson and Long Term Care Association President Shelly Peterson says they're preparing for the baby boomer demographic that's expected to up the demand for beds. But, they say another big issue they're dealing with now is a shortage of beds in memory units.

“We're going to begin to see the impact of that more and more and those are probably the most in demand in North Dakota,” said Peterson.

Thompson says they hope to have shovels in the ground sometime this year on the new campus, and construction complete sometime in 2021.

Both Thompson and Peterson say the workforce shortage is also impacting how they're able to provide in-home and care center services.