Some Long Term Care And Assisted Living Facilities Are In Need Of Workers

DULUTH, Minn. – Minnesota Governor Tim Walz is requesting help from the Federal Emergency Management Agency.

He wants FEMA to support the needs of long-term care and similar facilities in the state suffering from staffing shortages.

There are hundreds of long term care facilities right here in the Northland.

As COVID-19 lingers, one of their biggest challenges is having enough staff to keep up with the impacts of COVID-19.

“There are slight staffing shortages as we continue through COVID-19. Luckily, we haven’t seen the same staff issues as many other facilities have,” said Lindsay Merritt, the administrator for Spirit Valley Assisted Living.

Spirit Valley Assisted Living in Duluth runs on a one to 10 ratio.

This means one staff member for every ten residents, but if that staffing level falls short, it can affect every aspect of care.

“If we do not have enough staff on-site to care for our residents we won’t have enough staff to attend to our visitors. A lot of people forget we have to care for everyone,” said Merritt. “It’s not just the residents it’s the people coming and going, the vendors, and the providers.”

The many safety regulations for settings like these also increase the need for more employees.

Over at St. Ann’s Residence in Duluth, there are enough workers right now to prevent staffing worries.

That hasn’t always been the case during the pandemic.

“Of course, it’s traumatizing for any of these agencies that are dealing with COVID-19,” said Scott Johnson, the executive director for St. Ann’s Residence.

St. Ann’s was one of the first of these types of facilities in the northland to be hit with an outbreak of COVID-19.

This created an employee deficit when the pandemic was in its early stages.

Nobody knew,” said Johnson. “The CDC and the Department of Health, nobody really knew what to expect with COVID-19. There was a lot of fear.”

Johnson also says the healthcare industry was already experiencing an employee shortfall even before the pandemic.
This is mainly because of its competitive nature always makes it tough to find quality caregivers.

Unfortunately, The outbreak in the Northland is creating even more difficulties when it comes to hiring staff.

St. Ann’s Residence has been free of COVID-19 cases since June.

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