As the number of hospitalized COVID -19 patients surges in states such as Colorado, so, too, is the number of post-hospitalized COVID-19 older adults requiring home healthcare.

In Colorado, the number of hospitalized COVID -19 patients was 14,900 as of Dec. 7. Staffing shortages at agencies such as Centura Health at Home in Centennial, CO, have resulted.

“Our volume has been higher than normal,” Director Cassandra Pratt told the Colorado Springs Business Journal. “Since March, we’ve seen a 20% increase in home health referrals. We’re so busy that we are actively looking for staff,” despite already having added three associates, she added.

Notwithstanding sign-on bonuses, competitive salaries and benefits packages, recruiting associates is a challenge, Pratt said. “Before the pandemic, I used to get 10 applicants a week for our open positions. Now I’m getting one or two.”

Last week, Don Knox, executive director of the Home Care & Hospice Association of Colorado, wrote a letter to Gov. Jared Polis calling for home healthcare and hospice providers to have top-priority access to COVID-19 vaccines.