Post-Acute Staffing & The COVID-19 Vaccine

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The post-acute space has been among the hardest hit during the COVID-19 pandemic.  As the vaccines begin to roll out across America, it provides some sign of hope for a return to more “normal” conditions. The stress test of this pandemic has revealed challenges and opportunities for organizations to evaluate their staffing and consider ways to improve.

At Medical Solutions, we have daily conversations with our partners about the staffing struggles they run into within their communities. For some, it is the battle to find and retain qualified staff. For others, it is the frustration with last minute call-offs and the resulting stress being placed on the staff that day. However, there is one constant – these communities need reliable staff who will help improve the overall continuity of care.

In today’s post-acute setting, maintaining proper staffing levels is a must in order to keep up and continue to provide a high level of care. When organizations operate at lower staffing levels, a number of challenges can occur. Add in the recent challenges of COVID-19, and we see the growing concern for the availability of qualified staff who are interested in a post-acute setting.

I’ve seen this firsthand, as my own mother concluded a 46-year career dedicated to post-acute nursing. She saw many young nurses step into the post-acute ring only to be swept away by a competing hospital. She witnessed several reasons why the staff continuity and staff levels have decreased. From operators across the street offering a slight rate increase to large shopping centers offering lower stress jobs, each community faces their own set of challenges. While frustrating, these challenges are not insurmountable. At Medical Solutions, we have worked with partners to analyze and attack the challenges they face. In better understanding the challenges ahead of the communities we support, we can develop a more focused strategy that will allow for an increase in staffing levels.

In my conversations with organizational leaders, I’ve noticed a shift in mindset. The focus has turned away from the former “way it has always been done” to the goal of a more prepared future.

There is hope for the future in the COVID-19 vaccine. As one organization shared, these “vials of hope” offer some opportunity to return to normalcy. But as we approach this future, it is also important to use this chance to learn from our processes and develop more secured plans. This includes our development of infection control measures, better staffing plans, and overall review of our businesses. If we react properly, these challenges will make us stronger. The post-acute space can continue to bounce back. And as it does, it will be standing on firmer ground.

Nick Hovermale

Nick is a National Account Executive for Medical Solutions, focusing on customizing contingent labor staffing plans for client hospitals and healthcare communities. Over the last three years, Nick has traveled to various locations across the country, brainstorming with partners on operational changes to increase staffing efficiency. This enables them to match the needs of their patients and residents with the appropriate supply of healthcare talent. Prior to Medical Solutions, Nick worked as a Human Resource Consultant for a national organization based out of Lincoln, NE. When he is not working, Nick enjoys playing golf and volunteering as a baseball coach.

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