Grand River Health staffing issues keeping parts of new Care Center closed – Glenwood Springs Post Independent

The Grand River Health building in Rifle.
Chelsea Self/Post Independent

Grand River Health likely won’t open parts of the new long-term Care Center in Rifle, including the highly specialized memory care unit, until sometime next year.

“We are eager to meet that community need,” said Kenda Spaulding, Chief Experience Officer for Grand River Health.

However, operation of the memory care unit requires a separate level of licensing from the rest of the facility. That includes different staffing levels and staff training requirements and a higher level of inspections, she said.

“We did anticipate that this would be something we would not be able to meet immediately,” Spaulding said.

Compounded by the impact of COVID-19 and staffing levels both at the Care Center and Grand River Hospital, that timeline remains uncertain, she said.

Spaulding cites a “quality benchmark” of one nurse and two certified nursing assistants (CNAs) for each of the facility’s “neighborhoods.”

The new Care Center opened in early 2021 with four such neighborhoods. Three general nursing and rehabilitation care neighborhoods have 18 beds each, and the memory care unit has 15 beds.

Two of those neighborhoods are fully staffed and open now, and the third general care neighborhood is awaiting full staffing, Spaulding said.

“We do hope to open the third neighborhood at least partially, if not fully, the first part of the year (2022),” she said. “The memory unit could take longer.”

Due to the uncertain timeline, there is not an active wait list for the memory care unit at this time, she said. Once the unit is able to take admissions, new admissions are likely to be given priority over transfers from other facilities, she said.

Staffing woes

All around, including the long-term care center, hospital and clinical services are dealing with ongoing staffing shortages — a combination of the impacts of the pandemic and a labor shortage that was already an issue. That’s also due in part to the high cost of living in the region.

“Health care is one of the top three industries for workforce migration,” noted Grand River Health Administrative and Community Relations Director …….


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