Features, Health and Safety, Municipal Government, National

Frontline Nursing Home Workers Still Lacking PPE

May 11, 2020

By Milly Silva

Newark, NJ – Statement of Milly Silva, Executive Vice President, 1199SEIU United Healthcare Workers East

“As talk of ‘reopening’ New Jersey intensifies, nursing home patients and their caregivers continue to be at extreme risk to a lethal virus.  It is unacceptable that more than two months after COVID-19 arrived in New Jersey, frontline nursing home workers are still lacking basic personal protect equipment.

“It is no wonder why COVID-19 has spread with such ferocity when there are caregivers still wearing garbage bags instead of gowns, being told to reuse latex gloves and masks, and falling sick themselves in significant numbers as they move from patient to patient.

“We applaud Governor Murphy’s announcement of the creation of a long-term care taskforce to address issues both immediate and long-term in the industry.  And we are encouraged by Attorney General Grewal’s recent announcement of a statewide investigation into the conduct of nursing homes during the pandemic.

“As this crisis continues, we need stricter oversight of nursing homes’ compliance with existing law, fast-track virus testing for every nursing home worker and patient statewide, and coordinated reallocation of PPE supplies to the places where it’s needed most.  It is not too late to save the lives of many people, but this demands a renewed sense of urgency to bring relief to caregivers and their patients.”

*** 1199SEIU United Healthcare Workers East is the largest growing healthcare union nationwide with over 450,000 members.

May 11, 2020

ONE COMMENT ON THIS POST To “Frontline Nursing Home Workers Still Lacking PPE”

  1. Patricia Stover-Trawick, RN says:

    I agree totally that our Nursing Homes needs total remake over with dealing with the way it’s being run. I am a Registered Nurse who has seen the health obstacles confronted by the committed employees. I worked briefly at one of the subacute nursing homes here in New Jersey, in the role of ADON and was appalled at the staffing levels my fellow colleagues were confronted with in mainly providing bedside care. Imagine having a patient load of 1:18 patients, who are sick. There’s no way safe care is able to be provided. Some patients will not get the treatment they need. Then you look at the ancillary staff numbers, meaning nursing assistants. 3 to maybe 4 on a unit. Sometimes 2. It’s totally unacceptable. Again clients care is compromised. The patients now in the nursing home facilities are not your typical seniors. Things have changed. They are sicker, sent to the facilities from acute care with still basic acute needs. That’s why you see the name change to “Subacute Care” behind the name. Yet they practice with the same staffing patterns of the old nursing home theory. Let’s not talk about having adequate supplies to provide care. Correct PPE gears for isolation, equipments etc.. It’s appalling!
    I was so upset with what I saw and made comments towards what I saw, to the effects that I had some confrontational periods with management. I eventually made a decision to leave the facility due to family health issues but also due to my not being able to help my staff as I wanted.
    I also made it a conscious decision never to put my parents or family into one.
    There needs to be a total overhaul in the way Nursing Homes/Subacute Facilities be run.

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