This year I want to thank the heroes of 2020–frontline caregivers. These selfless healthcare providers have sacrificed more than anyone. They risk their lives every shift during this pandemic. Thank you.
Fatigue and Turnover
Staffing issues plague the nursing home industry. The coronavirus pandemic made it worse. Staffing has been among the top concerns and expenses for operators during COVID-19’s time. Turnover of personnel may skyrocket. A LeadingAge analysis released found that raising direct workers’ pay to a living wage would increase most of their wages by an average of 15.5%. The benefits for adopting a living wage would reduce turnover and increased worker productivity.
David Grabowski is the health care policy professor at Harvard Medical School. Grabowski’s research suggests that about one in five facilities nationwide are reporting severe shortages of workers. He recently told McKnight’s Long-Term Care News:
“The amount of fatigue that the direct caregivers are feeling right now is going to begin to manifest itself in individuals leaving the workforce, choosing a different profession. Our direct caregivers haven’t been supported going back really to the beginning of the pandemic, in terms of either pay or personal protective equipment and testing. I think at some point they’re going to evaluate their options and just say, ‘We can’t do this anymore,’” he added. “We’re already seeing a lot of vacancies and workforce shortages.”
The ongoing shortage of workers could end the nursing home industry. Multiple studies link quality of staffing to how well nursing homes fare with COVID-19. A University of Chicago analysis found that facilities with more nurse aide hours and training had lower odds of experiencing a coronavirus outbreak and fewer deaths.
In the U.S., states now report more people in the hospital with COVID-19 than at any other point this year—and 40 percent more than just two weeks ago. Residents are dying because there simply aren’t enough people to care for them. Nurses and nurse’s aides are burnt out. The health care experts are exhausted.
Nurses and doctors are also falling sick themselves. Nursing homes and long-term-care facilities are still struggling to provide personal protective equipment, including gloves and masks.
Please be safe. Wear a mask. Practice safe distancing. Happy Thanksgiving!