Important Information on Accessing Rapid Response Staffing Teams  

Important Information on Accessing Rapid Response Staffing Teams  

DSHS is launching the rapid response teams the beginning of next week. As a reminder the response teams will provide short-term staffing support to supplement long-term care and developmental disability facilities and agencies experiencing challenges in caring for residents and clients. 

The Rapid Response teams will be located in counties with the highest need based on virus reporting. Currently this includes the following counties: King, Pierce, Snohomish, Clark, Franklin, and Spokane counties. In the event the data shows a need for an additional Rapid Response team in an area or in other areas, these teams may be repositioned to respond to that need. Providers can request support from a Rapid Response team for one or more of the following reasons:  

  • Staff or resident/client COVID outbreak that threatens the ability of the facility or agency to meet the ongoing needs of residents or clients.
  • Situations where a facility or agency will significantly benefit from short-term respite for Dear Administrator/Provider/Superintendent: Rapid Response Short-Term Crisis Staffing December 2, 2020 Page 2 direct nursing and personal care assistance staff; and
  • Facilities with a sudden and unexpected nursing and aide staff absences for COVID or other infectious disease related reasons that would threaten the ability to provide care or services to residents or clients.

Program logistics:

  1. RCS Regional Administrators and the Office Chief for Headquarters Operations will receive and review the Rapid Response agency staffing requests from the facility or agency and communicate those to the Rapid Response nurse managers. These requests will be submitted to an email in box at and need to include all required information to complete the request. This information will be sent to the Rapid Response nurse managers. Here is a link to the Rapid Response Request form (DSHS 02-716).  The information needed for the Rapid Response staffing includes: 
  • Name of facility or agency 
  • Requestor Name 
  • Requestor email and phone number 
  • Requestor Position 
  • Number of residents in the facility or clients assigned to the agency 
  • If your facility shares ownership or operational management with other facilities in the state or region, has your facility requested backup support from those homes? 
  • Has your facility called upon staff in administration (Administrator, Director of Nursing, other department heads) to assist with providing direct care, supervision and non-ADL needs? 
  • Has your facility reached out to a staffing agency with no additional staff available? 
  • They ask for additional comments and concerns be qualitative added as a response. 
  1. The Rapid Response nurse managers will receive the request from RCS and contact the facility or agency to discuss the staff availability, staff need and assignment.
  1. DSHS/ALTSA is providing the DSHS Background Check Authorization form for agency staff to complete prior to their assignment to your facility or agency. If a nurse or aide reports to your facility that means they have passed the background check and are licensed or certified in good standing in another state(s).
  1. Facilities may ask for any number of shifts after they have determined that other staffing agencies are unable to meet any or all of their entire staffing needs. The Rapid Response nurse managers will confirm what amount of staff resource is available and when.
  1. The number of times a facility or agency utilizes the Rapid Response staffing is not limited by time or frequency. If there are multiple staffing requests that need to be filled at the same time, RCS will coordinate those requests with the Rapid Response nurse managers. Resources deployed will be based on need regionally and statewide.
  1. Staffing requests will be responded to within 24 hours by the Rapid Response nurse manager verifying receipt with a status update and details regarding staff being deployed.
  1. If a facility or agency does not have adequate PPE to provide to the Rapid Response staff, DSHS will be providing PPE kits, including fit testing for N95 respirators. 
  1. Concerns regarding the performance or actions of any of the Rapid Response nurses or aides will be directed to the Rapid Response nurse managers for investigation and any required action.
  1. When nursing staff are assigned to your facility or agency you will receive staffing and agency contact information and instructions.

You can find the full details in the Dear Provider letter here. We will provide updates as more information becomes available.  




Alyssa Odegaard- Vice President, Public Policy 

c: 206.948.2279