Ask the nursing expert: maintaining staff levels during a blizzard

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Ask the nursing expert
Ask the nursing expert
We are faced with snow, snow and more snow during the next few days and I need to plan ahead for the care of our residents. Staff are already talking about how they won't be able to get to work and I am afraid there won't be enough staff here. How would you recommend I approach staff with the need for their support during this crisis?

Anyone who lived on the East Coast this January and February was faced with this challenge! I spent some time thinking this over for the best outcome for residents and staff.

I called my staff together to discuss the upcoming snowstorm and the problems we would be facing and asked for suggestions from them to ensure that our frail elderly did not experience a disruption in the wonderful care that they were receiving.

I also asked them to let me know how I could make this most comfortable for them. The more they contributed suggestions, the more excited they became. Some would go home and pack their bags and return for a “sleep over” and the facility would organize the kitchen to prepare extra food for everyone on staff.

Our medical director also volunteered to provide food for staff for two days during the storm. The human resources department organized a food order and I went along to pick it up.  We were able to arrange for pick-up assistance for those who could not drive in the blizzard conditions.

Sleeping arrangements and locations were up to the creativity of staff and they had loads of fun selecting their “places.”

 As the storm dragged on, morale never changed. This was truly a case of being pro-active and “making lemonade” out of lemons. I never stopped saying “thank you'” to everyone I passed in the hallways.