Nursing home staff shortage considered a “circular nightmare”
EAU CLAIRE, Wis. (WEAU) - The inability to protect those who care for our most vulnerable is growing.
“It’s a circular nightmare at this point because it was a problem in the united states before and with COVID-19 it has spread,”
Said Susanna Cain, a campaign associate for WISPIRG, a non partisan group that advocates for public health. A survey conducted last year revealed that nationally about 20% of nursing homes are not staffed with enough aides to provide “optimal care”. In Wisconsin that number is more than 30%.
“We’d like them to have a high quality of care and if there’s less people to do it they’re going to be put at more risk,” Cain said.
WISPIRG reports 110 homes were understaffed in Wisconsin, affecting nearly 6,000 residents.
“Nursing home nurses and aides started having issues where they either contracted the virus or family members did or kids started doing at home schooling so people decided it was the best decision to take time off for their best safety.”
Registered nurse and owner of Nurse Staffing and Concierge Service LLC, Anee Vang says she has seen the pool of applicants for nursing jobs decrease in the past year and knows the impact this has on patient care.
“If you have the passion and you have a nursing background, whatever you can do to help just do it. Nobody signed up to work during a pandemic, but what we did sign up for is to help people,”
Vang admits she doesn’t have a quick fix for the shortage, but hopes her message can inspire at least one person to help be a part of the solution.
WISPIRG calls for policymakers to prioritize addressing these shortages, which could include approving emergency COVID funding for nursing homes and aiming to vaccinate all nursing home staff and residents by March.
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