James M. Berklan

Results of the 2021 McKnight’s Mood of the Market survey will begin to go live on Tuesday. We realize it’s a classic case of talking to the trees about the forest.

While you’ve been scrambling for your caregiving, regulatory and fiscal sanity as providers — as trees in the forest, if you will — a lot has been going on all around you. Admittedly, it’s not always easy to know if everyone’s feeling the same shade you are.

Well, now you can, and it’s not pretty.

As Tuesday’s Daily Update news item will show, the long-term care nursing corps is feeling is feeling the heat from the pandemic, in many dangerous ways. Some of the most resolute employees say they are ready to walk away from the job because of conditions. It’s time to sit up and take notice when you see double-digit jumps in those talking about packing it in. Even shifts of a few percentage points may indicate trouble ahead, and that’s what we see, time and again.

Mood of the Market

Keep in mind that these results were gathered the last week of July and first week of August — several weeks before any extra discontent could have set in from the Biden administration’s announcement that nursing home staff vaccinations will soon be mandated.

I still believe as Dr. David Nace recently told us that the number of workers quitting because they don’t want to get vaccinated against COVID-19 will not be as high as some fear. Yes, there will be painful walk-offs. But when the full picture settles and healthcare providers uniformly decide that the best-calculated healthcare — and not just having the most workers — is needed for fragile, elderly seniors, an equilibrium will set in again. No matter how long that will take, it will be painfully long. Too long. But what’s the point of building a house of care and rehabilitation based on a shoddy foundation from the start?

But this post isn’t about whether to mandate vaccinations. It’s about the mental and emotional — and sometimes physical — bruising that dedicated long-term care workforces have endured both BV and AV (Before Vaccines and After Vaccines). In brief, many are approaching a breaking point and if fortunes don’t start looking up by the time we head into winter, it could get ugly. Uglier.

As Tuesday’s data will show,, noble thoughts are giving way to signs of resignation (pun intended). And to feelings far beyond frustration. This is not good for the core who stuck by the most vulnerable and endangered population in the U.S., especially BV, when patients’ family members couldn’t visit.

Stay tuned in the coming days as we roll out full Mood of the Market survey findings, complete with nuances about what is wrong and clues as to what can help. 

This one-of-a-kind, independent survey will reveal plenty of intriguing numbers. In fact, one of the most telling is 65, as in the 65% increase in respondents this year. Despite the weariness of more than a year at war against COVID-19 — or perhaps because of it — nursing home leaders came out in droves to make sure their thoughts and feelings were known.

Now it’s time to pay attention to them.

Follow Executive Editor James M. Berklan @JimBerklan