submitted by Becky Bartlett

The National Guard will provide Gracedale Nursing Home with some short-term staffing assistance beginning yesterday, Sunday, April 27. Their time at the facility cannot exceed 72 hours. 

There were 716 employee call outs at the Gracedale facility from April 1 to April 23. 

“The employees who are coming to work every day to care for the residents at Gracedale are heroes,” says Lamont McClure. “The employees who are calling out of their shifts in record numbers need to start putting the residents first. We’re grateful to the National Guard for their offer of short-term assistance.” 

Representatives from the Hospital and Healthsystem Association of Pennsylvania (HAP) and the Guard visited Gracedale on April 22, and expressed admiration for the dedication of the staff and its strict adherence to CDC guidelines. They described the installation of a negative pressure area for suspected cases as a best practice and praised the allocation and conservation of PPE. 

The National Guard will primarily assist with non-COVID-19 residents, allowing Gracedale employees to focus on residents who are positive for COVID-19 or have pending test results. Their mission is intended to last for no longer than 72 hours. The Guard spent their first day getting acclimated to the facility and receiving instruction on the proper way of performing tasks in a nursing home. 

Guard assistance will include 20 medics to work as CNAs from 7 a.m. to 7 p.m., eight licensed nurses to work the 3 to 11 p.m. shift and assist with distributing meds, and additional staff to help with delivering food carts, making beds, etc. Guard staff will be focused on the tower building which has the greatest need for help.


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