Long-term Care Facilities Struggle with Staffing Shortages, ‘They Just Don’t Want to Do It Anymore’
Some people are calling it a “health care crisis.” Senior care facilities across the state, including the northwest metro, are struggling because of staffing shortages.
A study by Long-term Care Imperative shows there are 23,000 unfilled positions at senior care facilities in Minnesota. That’s up from 8,000 unfilled positions in June.
Like many senior care facilities across the state, Saint Therese Senior Living of New Hope is scrambling to find workers.
“It is concerning, “said Lisa Kalla, executive director at St. Therese of New Hope. Kalla says there are about seven positions open for registered nurses and 15 assistant nursing positions. She says there are also vacancies in the dining and assistant living areas.
“They’re just leaving, and they don’t want to do it anymore. They want to change jobs, they want to change positions, so they no longer have this stress on them,” explained Kalla.
St. Therese of New Hope was walloped early on by the pandemic. Dozens of elderly residents died from COVID-19, which took a toll on staff at the 250-plus bed facility.
“It’s stressful on them to see residents that they love, that passed away because of this disease,” said Kalla.
Officials at the senior care facility say they can’t fill the positions fast enough. So, now they’ve put a limit on admissions and shut down part of a wing in its transitional care unit.
Meanwhile, Saint Therese is offering bonuses to attract employees in hopes they will work open shifts.
“We’re offering $125-$150 sometimes a shift to get people to stay and to get people to pick up,” said Kalla. “In the next couple of weeks, are my staff going to be able to continue to stick it out, or are they just going to get to a point where they want to give up as well?”
St. Therese is also considering using recruitment bonuses, sign-on bonuses and retention bonuses to get through the staffing shortage crisis.