Rapid Response Teams for LTC

Rapid Response Teams for LTC

On or about December 1st, we expect Rapid Response Teams will be available for crisis staffing in LTC.  These teams will consist of eight members each and will be stationed around the state to help provide emergency staffing for LTC facilities.  If the teams are idle, they may be deployed to provide respite relief to exhausted staff.  The teams will include RNs, LPNs, and NACs. There will be no charge to the facilities for the use of short-term nursing staff support through this program. The Rapid Response teams will be located in counties with the highest needs based on virus reporting. Currently this includes the following counties: King, Pierce, Snohomish, Clark, Yakima, and Spokane.  In the event the data shows a need for a Rapid Response team in other areas, these teams may be repositioned to respond to that need.

As you may recall, LeadingAge Washington brought this urgent staffing concern to light on November 4th first with the Governor’s office and then with ALTSA Assistant Secretary, Bill Moss.  We appreciate the swift action taken by ALTSA to obtain funding approval and implement this new rapid response staffing program.

Please work with your staff to be prepared to orient the Rapid Response teams to your facility and residents. These rapid response staff are accustomed to responding to temporary assignments but will need orientation to the residents they are assigned to care for and the operations of your facility. For example, orientation to medication administration systems, personal care or behavioral health care needs of the residents, emergency contact information, and other vital information will be required. LeadingAge WA has requested that COVID screening and testing, background checks and licensing verification be completed prior to their arrival.  Facilities will need to screen these teams daily for signs/symptoms of COVID just as you do for your employees.

We are expecting a Dear Administrator letter to be issued within the next few days further describing the crisis staffing teams and the triaged process for requesting and obtaining staffing relief.  The Rapid Response teams will not be able to meet all staffing needs throughout the state as they occur, and you will need to have alternative contingency staffing plans in place.




Laura Hofmann, MSN, RN – Director of Clinical and Nursing Facility Regulatory Services
c: 425-231-4804

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