As we now enter into the third year of the COVID pandemic, with the Omicron variant threatening to once again lock us in doors, it’s conceivable to believe that we’ve somewhat gotten into the swing of navigating the effects of the virus and the guidelines that go with it. However, some aspects of the “new normal” are far from ironed out.
One of the sectors that continues to be heavily affected is healthcare, and nursing homes in particular. It’s evident that nursing homes, their staff, and their residence bore a significant and unique burden at the height of the pandemic, but the residual issues are still alive and pervasive. In fact, as of right now, 99% of nursing homes are understaffed, and 78% fear they may have to close permanently.
Sadly, the stress of the pandemic, along with other pandemic related issues, has meant that nursing home staff has dropped to 2.95 million in 2020, compared to 3.15 million in 2011. Naturally, this staffing shortage means greater stress on those who remain, as well as a lower quality of care for residents.
Although there is no quick fix to the staffing shortage, nursing homes can improve their retention and recruit new staff by ensuring staff safety, offering stress management and mental health support, and by offering staff appreciation, as well as continued education and training.