In response to critical staffing shortages at Willow Point Nursing Home, Broome County Executive Jason Garnar announced Monday an action plan to ensure the health and safety of residents in the coming weeks.
As of Friday, admissions have been suspended at Willow Point and as of Monday at 2:00 PM, a State of Emergency has been declared for the nursing home which will allow the County Executive to address staffing issues more quickly and effectively. Additionally, a rapid response team has been assembled to provide enhanced monitoring of this situation and to quickly take action to provide support to Willow Point where it is needed. The County is also prepared to close another unit of the nursing home as the census at the facility continues to decline.
This has been an ongoing issue for well over a year as healthcare workers continue to experience “burn out” and fewer people are entering the field. Workers are also retiring as soon as they are able and the COVID vaccine mandate has resulted in a loss of some workers as well, creating an unprecedented healthcare workforce crisis that has never been seen before in Broome County.
The latest actions taken by the County Executive follow steps taken over the last year to mitigate the effects of the worker shortage. In the past 12 months, two units have closed at Willow Point, bringing the capacity from 296 beds to 216 beds. The County Executive also issued an emergency order earlier this year to raise CNA salaries, and the 2022 County budget includes an additional $3/hour upgrade for CNAs.
The health and safety of the residents at Willow Point is the top priority for Broome County and these steps are designed to ensure the facility has the resources it needs to continue offering the highest quality care for residents in the short term. All options are on the table to address these ongoing issues in the future.