Significant staff shortages, varying immunization rates reported at nursing homes in Wausau and statewide

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Editor’s Note: This story has been corrected to show that the highest staff The vaccination rate of nursing homes in the Wausau region is represented by North Central Health Care, rather than Rennes Health and Rehab. Wausau Pilot & Review regrets the error.

By Shereen Siewert

AARP data shows that nearly 53% of nursing homes in Wisconsin report a shortage of nurses or orderlies, with staff and resident vaccination rates fluctuating widely in the Wausau area.

Nationally, nearly a third of the country’s roughly 15,000 nursing homes are reporting such shortages, the worst since the government began keeping such records related to COVID-19.

The numbers were compiled during the last four-week benchmark period for the AARP’s ongoing monthly analysis of federal nursing home data, which ran from mid-September to mid-October. At the same time, COVID-19 infections in nursing homes were less than a sixth of what they were last winter.

Low staffing levels in nursing homes, especially among registered nurses, are associated with worse outcomes for residents, including more COVID-19 cases, deaths, and a higher likelihood of an outbreak. The COVID-19 pandemic has disproportionately affected residents and staff of nursing homes and other long-term care facilities, accounting for 6% of all cases and 38% of all COVID-19 deaths in the world. nationwide. In response, the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) recommended that LTCs be given the highest priority when it comes to immunization.

“Even on the best day (of a nursing home), if you have a full workforce, things can always go wrong,” Lori Porter, co-founder and CEO of the National Association of Health, told AARP. Care Assistants. “But things will definitely turn badly if you have a third of what you need. “

Last winter, as COVID-19 infected more than 200,000 residents and staff and killed 20,000 in just one month, the number of facilities nationwide reporting staff shortages was just below by 30%.

AARP’s analysis of data from the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services does not say what is causing the staff shortages. But likely factors include the recent increase in COVID-19 cases in nursing homes due to the delta variant and increased worker burnout, according to the AARP report.

Rising staff vaccination rate

Staff vaccination rates have exceeded 90 percent in California, Connecticut, Washington, DC, Hawaii, Massachusetts, Maine and Rhode Island – but in Wisconsin the rate is 69.2 percent, according to data from the AARP, below the immunization industry benchmark of 75 percent of their workforce.

According to Medicare figures, staff immunization rates vary widely in the Wausau area.

As of Nov. 28, Medicare reports that Pride TLC has the lowest staff immunization rate in the Wausau area, at 26.8%. North Central Health Care had the highest staff immunization rate at 78.2 percent, followed closely by Wausau Manor at 78 percent. The state average is 72.1 percent, slightly lower than the national average of 75.9 percent. Published figures do not reflect retirement or other facilities that are not Medicare certified. See data for all Wausau metro installations below.

“The percentages of people who are unvaccinated may not seem like huge,” said AARP’s Susan Reinhard, co-author of the analysis and senior vice president and director of the AARP Public Policy Institute. a lot of unprotected people.

The analysis, conducted by the AARP Public Policy Institute and the Scripps Gerontology Center at the University of Miami in Ohio, relies primarily on data acquired from the Nursing Home COVID-19 Public File by the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services. Most nursing homes are federally certified and must submit data to the government on a weekly basis.


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