GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. (WOOD) — Pine Rest Christian Mental Services has announced it is giving employees $1.8 million in bonuses.
The employee appreciation bonus comes after a year with high demand for its services, Pine Rest said in a Thursday release. It hopes the bonus will help with staff retention and show gratitude to its employees.
“Everyone has faced struggles during the pandemic. It is certainly a key component in the record number of individuals who have turned to us seeking services,” Bob Nykamp, Pine Rest’s vice president and chief operating officer, said in the release.
“Our employees are not immune from those very same struggles,” Nykamp said. “They’ve managed those on a personal level, and on a professional level have experienced unprecedented demand for care. I am extremely proud that Pine Rest is able to, through this bonus, offer some measure of recognition for the tireless work of our staff.”
COVID-19 has led to a higher demand for the services Pine Rest offers, especially for children and teenagers, it said. It has seen a 13% increase in pediatric inpatient volume since the start of the pandemic, and its 62 beds for children and teens have been at or close to capacity since September of last year.
There has also been a rising number of cases where organizations like Pine Rest have to turn patients away because they are unable to keep up with demand.
“Compared to the year prior to the pandemic, Pine Rest has seen a 44% increase in pediatric ‘turnaways,’ situations in which our child and adolescent services were at capacity, and we had to work with parents or guardians to find care elsewhere,” said Mark Eastburg, Pine Rest’s president and CEO.
“Other organizations have reported very similar trends, and there have been a number of recent stories from around the state in which parents spend days, even weeks, trying to find appropriate placement for their children,” Eastburg said. “It’s, frankly, heartbreaking.”