McKnights’ reported that the nation’s nursing homes are both unprepared, ill-trained, and understaffed, according to results of an exclusive McKnight’s Long-Term Care News flash survey. More than 77% of respondents said their facilities were experiencing personal protective equipment (PPE) shortages. Nearly 3 in 5 (59%) said their locations were using homemade or improvised PPE, or reusing it. Masks, gowns, gloves and shoe covers are just some of the infection control products falling under the PPE label. In addition, nearly half of the respondents (48%) said they have workers “calling in sick due to or exhibiting signs of COVID-19.” This is on top of normal staffing concerns that leave many facilities scrambling to fill open shifts. More than 19% of survey respondents reported that COVID-19 had been detected in at least one resident or worker at their facility. The survey did not explore how many more had personnel quarantined or suspected of being COVID-positive. Over half (51%) of the survey respondents said their buildings were not currently equipped to handle COVID-19 patients.
Managers said they were compensating for extra staffing needs with a variety of incentives and resources. “Bonus pay/gift cards” lead the way at 38%, followed by “increase part-timers’ hours” at 24% and using more agency nurses (18%). More than 22% entered something in the “other” category, which included flex-time, regular or special overtime pay, and managers filling in for staffers as the most popular choices. More than 23% said a question about “compensating for extra shifts/other staffing needs” was “not applicable” to their facilities’ situation.