Casey’s Pond Senior Living Director of Sales and Marketing Melissa Lahay and Executive Director Brad Boatright show a one-bedroom resident apartment similar to the accomodations where traveling staff are being housed.
Suzie Romig/Steamboat Pilot & Today
Nursing assistant Brenda Pittman’s commute to work at Casey’s Pond Senior Living is just a short elevator ride.
The Louisiana mom of five adult children is working as a traveling staff member on assignment at Casey’s Pond, and her temporary apartment is an unoccupied resident room inside the upscale complex.
“It’s super nice, and I love it. This is unique,” said Pittman, who has worked as a nursing assistant for 28 years in all types of settings from hospitals to hospice.
In almost a year of traveling for work, this is Pittman’s first opportunity to live on-site.
On a budget and in Colorado with one of her children who is on the autism spectrum, Pittman was commuting to work by riding the bus from a hotel in Craig. The ride took more than an hour, including a transfer. Now, Pittman does not worry about arriving for her shift on time with her one-minute commute.
“I can actually relax and do my work,” Pittman said.
Management at nonprofit Casey’s Pond has utilized traveling staff hired through several third-party staffing agencies for about three years due to the nationwide shortage of nurses, said Brad Boatright, Casey’s Pond executive director.
The company has offered temporary accommodations sporadically since 2020, but starting in October, the senior living community opened up more on-site apartments to accommodate traveling staff. Visiting staff often cited difficulties in finding affordable short-term rentals in Steamboat, said Melissa Lahay, Casey’s Pond director of sales and marketing.
Currently, 18 traveling nurses live in vacant resident apartments, either as singles or sometimes with a roommate. If staff prefer, they can also eat in the community dining facilities with an employee discount, Lahay said.
Another visiting staff member, a licensed practical nurse who works evenings and lives in an on-site apartment, is often seen coming back from the ski resort with a snowboard under her arm, Lahay noted.
Providing on-site housing for up to 20 traveling nursing staff is another step the local employer must now take to attract enough employees.
With similar staffing needs, UCHealth Yampa Valley Medical Center leases six condos as transitional housing for newly hired employees who are getting settled in the community and looking for their own housing. The condos are routinely full, said Lindsey Reznicek, …….