COVID impacts staff at nursing home

Local News

The recent surge in COVID-19 cases has taken its toll at a long-term care facility in Wells.

Parkview is owned and operated by Heartland Senior Living, which also operates long-term care facilities in Truman and Winnebago.

Last December, Parkview was among 50 skilled nursing facilities statewide that received help from the Minnesota National Guard to relieve staff working extra shifts each week.

Chris Knoll, managing agent for Heartland, says the number of staff at Parkview has gone from 80 down to 50.

“Some have gone elsewhere for employment and some have decided to leave the health care industry all together,” he says. “There was a lot of staff burnout. It’s a problem that I don’t see going away.”

Five to 10 Guard members arrived at Parkview just prior to Christmas, says Knoll, and were on site for three weeks.

“It was an early present for our workers. They were able to take some time off and spend it with the family,” he says.

Near the end of November, Gov. Tim Walz announced a plan to deploy 400 Guard members to reinforce nursing staffs at facilities struggling with shortages.

The lack of workers meant that nearly 80 percent of the state’s nursing homes are unable to take in new residents.

“As our staff allows. That’s the mentality we’re taking when it comes to new admissions,” says Knoll. “The pandemic has turned into a systemic and economic issue. We’re paying staff out of our ears. It’s kind of scary.”

Due to less staff at the facility, some workers at times have been asked to do things they normally would not.

“A person use to doing maintenance work like mowing lawns may have to make beds one day,” Knoll says. “It’s the it takes a village approach, all the village.”

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