‘We Have Folks Working 100-Hour Workweeks’: Minnesota’s Long-Term Care Facilities Reach Critically Low Staffing – WCCO


MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO) – Health care experts share a worrying perspective on the viability of some long-term care facilities in Minnesota.

These facilities were at the center of the COVID-19 crisis. In the beginning, they cared for the most vulnerable in Minnesota and found ways to keep patients healthy while facing a shortage of PPE.

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Now it is a staffing crisis that is having a ripple effect on families.

“We’ve had chronic labor shortages, but we’ve never had a crisis shortage, and that’s where we are,” said Patti Cullen, CEO of Care Providers of MN.

Cullen says there are 23,000 open positions or 20% of the workforce.

“Those who are in our buildings are burnt and go to work. We have people who work 100 hours a week, lots of doubles, so they’re tired, ”Cullen said.

This has led to 70% of facilities across the state limiting admissions in one way or another. This weighs on hospitals, with longer stays for patients and limits options for families looking to place a loved one in a care facility.

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“And it’s heartbreaking for us because we know they usually act in a time of crisis,” Cullen said.

Additionally, Cullen says 26 establishments are reporting they are “in the red” or in danger of closing. They say they are working on solutions to keep them open and that patients are cared for.

“We can’t just close down without finding a place to live, so we have to do a little bit of planning,” Cullen said.

This includes working with the Department of Health and legislative leaders. They hope that this next extraordinary session will lead to higher and acceptable wages for workers.

They propose that federal dollars be used for strike teams, like when the National Guard stepped in, to plug the holes until there is a long-term solution.

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“I think a lot of people don’t sleep at night,” Cullen said.


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