Long-term care providers around the country are struggling to hire and retain workers amid the coronavirus pandemic. 

The issues stem from uncertainties regarding how well workers will be protected from contracting the disease while serving residents, according to a Stateline report.

A recent McKnight’s Long-Term Care News survey revealed that two-third of respondents had staff members who’ve called in sick or quit due to COVID-19 worries.

“It’s really challenging … everybody is in a state of anxiety,” said Kwaku Tsibo Bondah, a licensed practical nurse at a Massachusetts nursing home, “because you are going into a room with someone who has COVID-19 there.” 

Some states have implemented several programs to address workforce shortages arising from the pandemic. Strategies have ranged from hefty bonuses for workers to helping them find essential groceries.

States such as Massachusetts and Colorado have launched websites to match job seekers to open long-term and residential care positions, whereas Arkansas has boosted pay for nursing and other direct care workers through the end of May, the report explained. 

In Illinois, operators at 64 nursing homes avoided a strike by increasing wages by 24% and providing hazard pay for workers during the public health crisis.

This article appeared in the McKnight’s Business Daily, a joint effort of McKnight’s Senior Living and McKnight’s Long-Term Care News.