Bellin Health Care Systems, Green Bay, Wisconsin

Bellin Health, Odd Fellow Home to Welcome National Guard to Add Capacity

Group of 10 CNAs to staff wing at nursing home near hospital campus

Bellin Health will welcome 10 Certified Nursing Assistant (CNA) trainees from the Wisconsin National Guard to assist with continued high hospital volumes due to COVID-19 and overall demands on the hospital and health system. The assistance will allow Bellin, in partnership with Odd Fellow Home, to provide non-COVID care at the nursing home that frees up space at the main hospital. The CNAs at Odd Fellow will be supervised by Registered Nurses (RNs) from Bellin, and will care for patients who are ready for discharge to nursing care but who previously may have remained at the hospital due to staffing limitations. Bellin is in discussion with the other Green Bay hospitals regarding potential involvement with this initiative, which healthcare leaders hope can serve as a prototype for future partnerships of this nature.

The Guard members are scheduled to arrive at Bellin Hospital Monday for training and orientation before beginning a mission that is expected to last until mid-March. They are coming in as trainees, completing their final hours of training before beginning work. Initially, they will be deployed to the main hospital campus while final arrangements are made to staff available space at Odd Fellow Home.

“We are tremendously grateful to the National Guard for providing us this much-needed assistance at this critical time,” said Bellin Health President and CEO Chris Woleske. “As this partnership with Odd Fellow shows, we continue to do everything we can to be flexible and adaptable in our staffing at this time of incredibly high hospital volumes. At the same time, we need members of the public to do their part in the fight against COVID-19 — that means getting vaccinated and boosted, wearing a mask in public and getting tested when you should. We need everyone’s help to ensure we can continue to offer high-quality care to every patient who needs it.”

Odd Fellow will open a portion of a 20-bed wing for patients who will now be able to be discharged from the hospital, providing the right level of care at the right time, said Odd Fellow Home CEO Charlene Everett.

“We are proud to partner with Bellin Health and the National Guard to make additional space available for nursing home patients who need it,” Everett said. “Coping with COVID-19 and the overall hospital patient surge requires a community approach, and we are happy to do our part to assist with that effort. We look forward to welcoming this team in the near future.”

The partnership could be a sign of things to come for the Green Bay community and beyond, said Bellin Health Chief Nursing Officer Laura Hieb.

“This is a unique opportunity for us to collaborate with the National Guard and a local community partner to address staffing shortages, increase capacity and ultimately provide the best in care for those we are privileged to serve,” Hieb said. “Our goal is to extend this partnership to the other Green Bay hospitals to look at ways we can collaborate and build out this model, allowing for greater access and a true community approach to care.”