Some NC nursing, long-term care facilities in dire need of extra help to relieve overwhelmed staff

North Carolina news

RALEIGH, N.C. (WNCN) — Some nursing homes and long-term care facilities in North Carolina are in dire need to hire extra staff, according to state health officials.

“In addition, there’s the mental toll of losing so many patients,” said Amber Brown, a nurse practitioner in North Carolina.

The North Carolina Department of Health and Human Services (NCDHHS) is searching for nurses and health care workers who are furloughed or laid-off to help in the fight and pick-up shifts.

“We were all anticipating that all of a sudden COVID-19 would hit and people were gonna have to be working extra hours,“ said Dennis Taylor, president of the North Carolina Nurses Association. “When we did not see that occur and volumes went down in healthcare facilities, then people were all of a sudden being laid off.”

But Taylor told CBS 17 that some health care facilities aren’t allowing furloughed or laid-off employees to look for other work.

He added, “in some cases, they will allow them only to volunteer but not get paid. In other circumstances, they will not let them do it at all, just because they want them to be there and on stand-by for whenever they think the volume may come back up.”

The need is so great that NCDHHS says facilities are considering hiring registered nurses and licensed practical nurses with out-of-state licenses and nursing students who are nearing graduation.

Taylor says he expects some nurses to come out of retirement to help the cause. He’s hopeful employers will ease restrictions on finding other work.

“We’re just encouraging employers to exercise as much flexibility as they can with their staff to allow them the opportunities to get the income that they need.”

Volunteers at East Carolina’s School of Nursing will take the lead in matching health care workers with facilities in their area.

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