Here at ACR Homes, we have been proud to provide exceptional care to individuals with disabilities in group homes throughout the Twin Cities metro area since 1981. This year marks our 40th anniversary. But instead of celebrating, we are faced with a nationwide staffing shortage.
What is ACR Homes and what do we do?
ACR serves over 200 individuals with disabilities in 4-person group homes. We provide 24-hour care for some of the most vulnerable individuals in our society – people who rely on full care support, and often with extensive medical equipment such as g-tubes, respiratory equipment, and transfer devices or behavioral management support. We meet the residents’ physical, social, and medical needs. We order the medications, we attend the appointments, we shop for the groceries, we make sure all needs are met. Our residents depend on us to provide 24/7 staffing so that all of these needs can be met.
The question is, what happens if we can’t?
So how bad are things?
Staffing has been challenging for years, but the magnitude of this crisis – which really is more like a natural disaster in scale and impact- demands an emergency response.
As the staffing crisis widened this Fall, we asked, in a worst case scenario, “What is the safety net for the vulnerable people we support – many of whom are also medically complex and fragile?” The response we received was essentially that other providers and county agencies around Minnesota are in similar or worse situations and the state has no other safety net for the people we serve. What safety net there may have been – like nursing homes – are in even worse shape and have no capacity to serve more people, especially those with complex needs.
There is no safety net for the 200+ medically fragile and complex individuals we serve at ACR Homes.
Since Labor Day we have had 5000 direct care hours open per week—that’s an average of 90 shifts per day! We have responded to this workforce crisis by offering substantial amounts of incentive pay for our current staff, employing five recruiters who are working hard to find new staff, and offering wage increases, hiring and referral bonuses, and other enhancements to attract new staff. Program Directors, Residential Supervisors and RNs have all been working significant amounts of direct care, along with several office staff. Supervisors have been working long hours every week with very little time off. We have more than 14 homes without RSs. This has become unsustainable.
- Staffing ratios have been reduced to just one staff for four residents wherever possible
- 4 programs have been closed
- 1 home with 4 residents has been temporarily closed and the residents from that home have been relocated to other ACR homes where they’re now temporarily accommodating a 5th resident.
- ACR has received 15+ “temp” employees through DHS Covid Crisis staffing who are helping fill hours at various homes that had a COVID positive
- ACR has also separately contracted with an additional healthcare temp agency who has sent approx. 5 employees to help at our homes
- More consolidation is on the horizon
How can you help?
TEAM ACR has continued to step up, but the strength and resources of our team are running low. Join our team, be part of our fight. Help us be the safety net that the people we support so drastically need and deserve. Better days are ahead, but we can’t do it alone.
Help us be the safety net.
Help us bring this topic into conversations. We are not a coffee shop or hair salon that can shorten hours or close doors for a day. This article from the Star Tribune last week echoes the effects at ACR nicely. Share this blog. Tell your friends. Discuss it with your family.
Work at ACR–even temporarily. We will train you to provide the care required to support our residents. No experience necessary–just a heart to serve and an ability to learn.
Recruit! Do you have friend or family members looking for meaningful work? College students looking for healthcare experience through jobs and internships? Tell them about us! Here’s a great link to share: Why Choose ACR?
Provide Stability- with over 14 Residential Supervisor openings, we are looking for leaders willing to jump in and support our residents through live-in supervision. This $40,000+ salaried positions includes rent-free living for the RS (and immediately family, if applicable). We are offering $5000 sign-on bonuses through 12/31. Learn more!
Former employees–join our alumni facebook group and if you’re willing to help in any way, please do! Here’s a contact form for those former employees looking to assist with volunteering, short-term direct care support, or to boost staff morale.
Adopt a house— our employees are working hard, and they are nothing short of amazing. Working alone or under these circumstances is tough, yet they show up every day and keep making a difference. If you’d like to show your support to our staff, we’d love to work with you! “The whole world is short stafffed- be kind to those who show up!”