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Direct Care Innovations‘ readers understand our passion for those living with disabilities and those who serve them. We’ve addressed the need for more and better-paid home healthcare workers, and we provide tools for organizations to manage the business and comply with regulations. Concerning direct care staff, Wisconsin’s ongoing shortage is so critical that the National Guard is helping. For this reason, we’re covering the story.

National Guard Provides IDD Services Due To Staffing Shortages

Staffing Shortages Require National Guard Intervention for the First Time

For the first time, the Wisconsin National Guard was called in to cover staffing shortages at four state health facilities. The facilities serve those with intellectual disabilities or mental illnesses. Severe staffing shortages apparently caused by the pandemic warranted the move in early November 2021. Approximately 60 national guardsmen are placed at these four state hospitals:

Mendota Mental Health Institute
Winnebago Mental Health Institute
Southern Wisconsin Center
Central Wisconsin Center

Appropriate Staff Levels Necessary for Proper Care and IDD Services

The mental health institutes operate as psychiatric hospitals that house people with severe mental health issues, including criminals. The centers house residents with intellectual disabilities. In any event, the four facilities house some of the state’s most vulnerable. Thus, it’s vital to maintain an acceptable staffing level. The national guardsmen will provide IDD services at each of the four locations while leadership attempts to bolster staff hiring.

Wisconsin Facilities Require Specialized Training

Guardsmen have helped support healthcare centers, senior living facilities, and similar places during the pandemic. They also helped vaccination efforts, supported testing sites, and provided other services overseen by Homeland Security. However, this is the first time DHS placed them at psychiatric institutions or residential facilities for those receiving IDD services.

The four Wisconsin facilities require staff specializing in mental health as the role sometimes involves restraining residents and other physical interactions. The physical interactions can put both patients and those providing IDD services at risk. For example, some patients can threaten others, hurt themselves, or sometimes become violent. Intervention tactics require discernment and may include separation, supervision, and even holds or restraints. 

Direct Care Innovations

Direct Care Innovations provides business management software to agencies, organizations, and those who offer IDD services in all 50 U.S. states. Our software helps make your life easier with software features that manage time and attendance, training, authorization management, EVV, and more. If you’re a managed care organization, Medicaid or Medicare agency, or self-directed care organization, call (480) 295-3307 to learn more.


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