In May and June of 2020, front-line nursing home staff described working under complex, challenging, and evolving conditions during the COVID-19 pandemic. A survey was conducted more than 3 months after a nursing home in Washington became the initial U.S. epicenter of COVID-19 and at a time when there were already more than 50,000 cases and 10,000 deaths among nursing home residents. Yet respondents reported that needed resources, including testing and PPE, were still lacking and that many facilities were still relying on extended use and reuse procedures for PPE.
A number of the themes elicited raise significant concerns for the long-term effects of the pandemic on the nursing home workforce. Respondents reported experiencing burnout and described the physical, mental and emotional burden of taking on heavier caseloads and learning new roles and processes. They expressed sincere concern and empathy for their residents experiencing isolation, illness and death.
The nursing home staff described working under complex, evolving, and stressful circumstances during the COVID-19 pandemic. These challenges have added a significant burden to an already strained and vulnerable workforce and are likely to contribute to increased burnout, turnover, and staff shortages in the long-term. Please take time to review the results of this study; it is enlightening and should be a wake-up call for each of us. Our healthcare heroes are hurting, they struggle to come to work every day, and we need to be there for them, support them, and never forget the thank you!
Stay the course, stay well, mask up and stay tuned!