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Nursing homes pausing intake of new residents amid staffing shortages

Being competitive in the health care industry by offering monetary incentives is crucial to hiring and retaining staff, according to Texas health care leaders.

SAN ANTONIO — Not only are hospitals enduring staffing shortages during this fourth wave of the COVID-19 pandemic; long-term care facilities are experiencing labor issues as well.

Kevin Warren, president and CEO of the Texas Health Care Association, said it’s come to the point where some facilities are holding off on accomodating new residents.

“They want to ensure that they’ve got the staff available that they’re currently caring for plus any new admissions, so they’ve had to hold on new admissions due to staffing concerns,” Warrens said.

Data from the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services shows that 78.1% of nursing home residents are fully vaccinated in Texas.

The data also reveals 58.1% of nursing home staff have completed coronavirus vaccinations.

President Joe Biden proposed mandating that all nursing home staff get vaccinated, which has Warren worried about the potential impact on staffing. 

“I’m very concerned that’s going to pose even additional staff stresses on it if someone that chooses not to get vaccinated can go and continue to pursue their career in another setting and still not have to be vaccinated,” he said.  

Tawana McDaniel, executive director at Memory Care of Westover Hills, shared how the 54-resident facility gives the option for residents and staff to get vaccinated.

While McDaniel couldn’t say how many residents and staff have been vaccinated, she confirmed the facility could use more personnel, including office, health care and custodial staff.

“We’ve been very blessed. We’ve been blessed to retain good staff members and we’re still looking and hiring for good staff members,” she said.

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