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Ohio Nursing Homes Short Staffed Due To COVID Surge

Nursing home health care
Matthias Zomer
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Pexels

Like Ohio’s hospitals, the lobby group for nursing homes reports many of those in the Buckeye State are short-staffed due to the surge in COVID cases.

The Ohio Health Care Association’s Pete Van Runkle said about 84% of residents in nursing homes are vaccinated, and when those residents get COVID now, he said they aren’t as sick as they were earlier in the pandemic. Now, he said nursing home workers are the ones who are getting sick. Van Runkle says 66% of workers in nursing homes are vaccinated, leaving about a third who aren’t.

“About 65% of the cases we are seeing presently in long-term care, that’s broader than skilled nursing but mainly skilled nursing, are staff cases,” said Van Runkle.

 Ohio National Guard members helping out at Ohio State University hospitals
Ohio State University
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Ohio State University
Ohio National Guard members helping out at Ohio State University hospitals

Van Runkle said staff illness is one reason many nursing homes are short-staffed right now. He explains many are forced to hire expensive temporary nursing services to be able to take care of patients. He also said nursing homes are often forced to lower capacities at their facilities. To make matters worse, he said many workers are leaving nursing home jobs because they are simply burnt out from the weight of the pandemic.

Ohio National Guard members have been helping to relieve some of the staffing shortages in hospitals. Van Runkle said while there are a couple of nursing facilities that have received similar help, most of them are left trying to figure out how to deal with staffing issues on their own.

Copyright 2022 The Statehouse News Bureau. To see more, visit The Statehouse News Bureau.

Jo Ingles is a professional journalist who covers politics and Ohio government for the Ohio Public Radio and Television for the Ohio Public Radio and Television Statehouse News Bureau. She reports on issues of importance to Ohioans including education, legislation, politics, and life and death issues such as capital punishment.