Staffing shortage leads to temporary changes at Cove’s Edge, outpatient laboratory services

Tue, 09/14/2021 - 12:00pm

Despite recent increases in hourly wages and offering additional sign-on bonuses to new employees, LincolnHealth is still struggling with staffing shortages, forcing some temporary changes in senior living and outpatient lab services.

Cove’s Edge will temporarily close its skilled rehabilitation unit this month, moving existing patients and staff into the long term care unit to consolidate staff and services. New admissions to long term care and skilled rehab will be brought to the long term care unit.

“It’s important for residents, rehabilitation patients and family members to know that we will continue to provide high quality care to those who need it,” said Cheryl Dobbelsteyn, Senior Executive Director of Senior Services. “This change is necessary to ensure we meet state staffing requirements while aggressively recruiting new members to our team.”

Many nursing homes across Maine are struggling with staffing, and some have recently announced they are closing. Neither Cove’s Edge nor St. Andrews Village have any intention of closing, but both have combined skilled and long-term care operations temporarily.

“It is critical that we continue to recruit staff and pursue every option possible to keep nursing and skilled care in Lincoln County,” said Cindy Wade, LincolnHealth’s president.

LincolnHealth has partnered with Sandy River Company to assess the possibility of building a new nursing facility in Damariscotta and moving nursing and skilled patients at Cove’s Edge and St. Andrews Village to one location, operated by North Country Associates. The 180-day study period is in its early stages.

Patients will also see a temporary reduction in outpatient laboratory hours beginning Oct. 1. The Miles campus lab at the hospital will be open 7 a.m. to 1 p.m. on weekdays only.

It’s a good idea for patients to schedule their appointment rather than walk-in. “We recognize this may be an inconvenience for our lab patients, and we look forward to returning to our normal, full-time outpatient lab schedule when staffing permits us to do so,” said LincolnHealth spokesperson John Martins.

Patients can schedule their lab test by calling 563-4569.