Nursing home staff during the pandemic

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More than any other health care sector, nursing homes have suffered during the pandemic. Residents and staff of residential staff 34% of all deaths from COVID-19, although they represent less than 1% of the population. As a result of concerns related to COVID-19, the number of Americans living in nursing homes has decreased by more than 10%. The result is an unprecedented financial crisis for the industry, with residences for the elderly closing the doors, some lay off your employees, and others that are unable to secure its facilities.

Working conditions in nursing homes have also worsened during the —First, there was too little equipment to adequately protect staff, and then too little evidence to do routine testing of staff, residents, and visitors. Staff have been overloaded, overworked and burned during the pandemic. Numerous reports of staff shortages have appeared in the press and nursing homes report severe staff shortages in data submitted to the federal government.

And so we were surprised to find, in a new study published in Health issues, that the number of households in the elderly did not decrease during the pandemic. Using auditory staff data based on the daily payroll of all nursing homes in the United States, we found that the total number of staff working in nursing homes decreases, as did the number of nurses. . But when taken together, look at the number of nursing staff resident: we found that, where appropriate, staffing levels increased, especially in the regions of the country most affected by COVID-19.

This is a counterintuitive result and flies in the face of conventional wisdom. Do we really think nursing home staff is okay? No, we don’t. To be clear, we believe that staffing levels did not decrease during the pandemic. But we also believe that nursing home staff perceived a lack of manpower, which is perhaps more important. There are several reasons why you disconnect.

First, staff workload increased during the pandemic. Nursing homes banned visitors in an effort to protect residents, but in doing so they also banned caregivers who provide daily help to feed, bathe and dress residents. In addition, his work became more difficult. An hour of work before the pandemic did not arrive until an hour during the pandemic. Staff were required to regularly provide and remove personal protective equipment, residents were spread out over more rooms for individual occupancy, and without pre-pandemic routines and contact with family members, residents became confused and left. agitated and required more attention.

Second, increased stress at work. The staff has reported regularly PPE shortage, fears of infection, and fears of spreading the infection to other residents or their own families. The perception of scarcity may stem from the increase in daily stress experienced by staff.

Third, stress outside of work also increased during the pandemic. The workforce in nursing homes is mostly women, from low-income communities, who often work various jobs. Because the pandemic limited child care and care options for the elderly, women had to perform these roles at home, taking on double or triple caregiver roles, no doubt increasing stress and exhaustion in the home. work.

Previously, staff at COVID-19 pandemic nursing homes were overburdened, underpaid and undervalued. The pandemic has hardened the snails of this staff. There are policies that could address this crisis in the short term: provide good access to staff for testing, risk payment, safe transportation and extended sick leave. In the longer term, we need to increase the staffing of nursing homes, pay staff salaries and raise the important role of residences. in the care of older adults. Nursing homes are in crisis, one that we cannot overcome without first addressing these long-standing and worsening staffing problems.

The article, “Staffing Levels for Nursing Homes Did Not Change Significantly During COVID-19,” was published in the May 2021 issue of Health issues.


The lack of staff, the PPE makes it difficult for the nursing homes to fight COVID-19


More information:
Rachel M. Werner et al, staffing levels for the elderly did not change significantly during COVID-19, Health issues (2021). DOI: 10.1377 / hlthaff.2020.02351

Courtney Harold Van Houtven et al., Essential long-term care workers who typically have second occupations and dual or triple service caregiver roles, Journal of the American Society of Geriatrics (2020). DOI: 10.1111 / jgs.16509

Citation: Nursing home staff during the pandemic (2021, May 26), retrieved May 26, 2021 from https://medicalxpress.com/news/2021-05-nursing-home-staffing-pandemic.html

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