As the licensed administrator for a skilled nursing facility in your district, it is with great urgency that I write today to request your immediate help.
The populations we serve are ground zero for this Pandemic Emergency. COVID-19 appears to most significantly target older adults and those with chronic conditions. All of the patients and long-stay residents that we care for fall into these categories. How can we protect them and our staff when we don’t have the tools to do so? This is why we need your help.
We need basic resources NOW to continue operations during this crisis.
We need Personal Protective Equipment (PPE). This equipment includes standard surgical masks, N-95 masks, gowns, gloves, face shields, thermometer covers, and alcohol hand gels. Why do we need your help to get these items? My facility is running out of these supplies that are NECESSARY to protect those on the front line and our residents.
Our current staff is all hands-on deck, but we cannot continue to put ourselves at risk by not having the things we need. We need relief. We need your help. We are using office staff, such as billing and accounts receivable personnel, to assist on the floors to help with non-clinical, non-skilled care. We have also opened our hiring practices to people without healthcare experience that can assist in the facility with non-clinical items. They are helping with in-room dining by carrying trays and cutting food, leading basic but necessary activities, and providing other in-room supports such as TV assistance and bringing in water and snacks. These individuals are also helping with virtual communication devices so patients and residents can communicate with their families.
It only gets more challenging daily. The financial burden on my health care workers who become ill is tremendous. My staff who have children and do not have access to childcare have to make decisions whether or not to come to work. Spouses have lost their jobs, and we are helping them every way we can. Our center is paying for overtime and payment when quarantined, we are offering stipends for childcare, and we have opened our holiday payment plans. Offering all of these things while simultaneously paying for backfill staff is taking a toll.
We are in desperate times, and we need your help NOW to access as much funding as possible with little to no administrative burden. Providers must focus all of their time and effort into caring for those we serve together, not focusing on how to find supplies and how to pay for staff.
We are essential to our community, to public health, and to Michigan. And we are essential to a strong, effective response to the COVID-19 outbreak. Your help is much appreciated.
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