Nursing homes all over the Quad Cities are short on certified nursing assistants, making it more challenging to care for the people who live in nursing homes.
Staff at Bettendorf Health Care Center and Senior Star at Elmore Place said they are searching for people to fill multiple positions. Those staff members say the COVID-19 pandemic is taking a toll on the staff at their nursing homes, and the recent spike in cases is keeping that problem in place.
Tanisha Douglas, a CNA at Bettendorf Health Care Center, said a lack of workers directly impacts the nursing home residents.
“We’re like, you know, their life when they’re here,” Douglas said. “We help them with grooming, we help them with daily life skills such as bathing and brushing their teeth and helping them pick out their clothes, we’re here for them when they are upset.”
Douglas said with the CNA shortage at her workplace, it’s been hard keeping the balance of not overworking staff, but also still giving residents the care they need.
“We want everyone in here to get the best care that they can get, and we just … we don’t want our staff overworked and burnt out either. So, you know, there’s two sides of that. You want to care for the residents, but you also want to care for your staff members because you don’t want them burnt out because then you won’t have anybody to take care of them, so.”
To make matters even more challenging, some nursing homes, like Senior Star at Elmore Place, are searching for more than just CNA’s.
“We’re looking for nurses and we have front desk reception positions, bus drivers, maintenance, so there’s a lot of different positions,” said Haley Flenker, Health Services Director at Senior Star.
The nursing home staff members said this lack of help highlights the importance of their positions.
“CNA’s are so vital, nurses are vital, but CNA’s are literally like, they’re front line, they are who’s doing it all,” said Douglas.
“[CNA’s] are the heart and soul of any senior living community,” said Flenker.