COVID's toll on senior care, unfortunately, extends beyond precious lives lost to the loss of valuable staff, according to the AHCA/NCAL Survey on Workforce Challenges. It's a headache for administrators and an energy suck for staff working more days or longer shifts to fill the gap. If you're facing these challenges, we've got some ideas!

Rebuilding Staff

Incentives and support
  • Consider bonuses and extra time off (e.g., mental health days, extra PTO)
  • Partner with nearby child care providers on discounted programs
  • Build support groups for common challenges – parenting, child/pet care, transportation, fitness, emotional health, etc.
  • Foster a collaborative environment where opinions are heard
  • Communicate often and using various channels – posters, emails, text, chat, meetings

Adaptive hiring and training
  • Streamline hiring/onboarding – 'there's an app for that!'
  • Consider RMTs and HHAs as fill-ins in for CNAs
  • Recruit/incent EMTs for nurses aid positions
  • Provide tuition assistance and continuing ed
  • Offer work/practice programs for nurses/others
  • Offer mentor program for new hires
  • Build growth tracks and leadership opportunities

Supportive workforces
  • Partner with telehealth providers
  • Consider travel nurses
  • Build volunteer programs/relationships

Combating Fatigue

Increased Check-Ins and Communications
  • Conduct more all-hands calls and use them to recognize staff efforts
  • Consider random check-ins with communities 2-3 times a week
  • Support efforts with staff newsletters and websites

  • Welcome staff to work; thank them as they leave
  • Offer virtual breaks, include games and contests
  • Host parking lot events/parades with food, buttons, leader drop-ins (even virtual)

  • Offer 'hero' pay, extra PTO, flexible schedules
  • Increase employee appreciation budgets and keep rewards flowing
  • Follow-up with personal notes and certificates from leadership

Diversity and Equality
  • Drive diversity and equality to recruiting and development
  • Offer active listening sessions for employees to share experiences
  • Create employee-led diversity, inclusion, and belonging council


  • Shelve non-priority tasks and assignments
  • Offer employee webinars for stress, parenting, protecting self/family/residents, etc.
  • Partner employees up for 'listening with empathy' or 'staff buddy' programs

The Light at the End of the Tunnel

It's been a challenging time for senior caregivers, but just remember how far you've come. The pandemic has brought previously overlooked challenges to light, empowering advocates to drive more focus to strengthen the workforce in SNFs and ALFs. 

As always, technology can help. If you don't know how your staffing stands on a weekly basis, or if you're trending toward overtime or not enough nursing hours, talk to us about our SNF/ALF analytics dashboard, primeVIEW.

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