Hi Jersey! I am originally from Long Island, but I will try not to make any offensive Jersey jokes….
So, my name is Janie and I started this crazy nurse’s group on Facebook called Show Me Your Stethoscope. We have a lot of people, about 700k at this point. Our biggest thing is unity among healthcare staff. However, our NEXT biggest thing is safe staffing.
Ok, so most laypeople have no idea what I am talking about at this point in the discussion. I am going to elaborate. Stay with me.
Let’s say, your grandmother is in a nursing home, or a long term care facility. (LTC). She got to the point where she was falling at home and leaving the stove on, and you guys had to move her to LTC to keep her safe. Great job! Way to keep grandma safe!
Except in New Jersey, you might have just condemned her to death.
In LTC facilities, the residents are largely cared for by dedicated healthcare professionals known as Certified Nursing Assistants (CNA’s) or ‘Aides’. CNA’s toilet, feed, bathe, change linen, dress, and care for the elderly in LTC facilities. Many of the elderly are frail, and not very mobile. So the CNA’s have to also move the patients from their beds to wheelchairs, to shower chairs, back to wheelchairs, to the toilet…..
Let’s say there are 40 elderly people on a nursing unit. There may be only one nurse assigned there. However, there should be at least 5 CNA’s to help take care of them.
I have personally seen a nursing unit with 4 CNA’s for 60 patients, and one nurse. FIFTEEN patients per CNA on day shift. The CNA is responsible for getting the patients ‘up’ for the day. Assisting them to dress, groom, toilet, get them into a wheelchair if required, and then taking them to the dining room. And they may have to be hand fed by the CNA.
Imagine how long that would take with fifteen patients.
What does this mean to you and your loved ones?
- Several of the patients may soil themselves before the CNA gets to them. This causes breakdown of the skin, and they can develop a bedsore. Plus, that is a dignity issue.
- Patients who are confused or just ‘unaware’ that their mobility is compromised may attempt to get up on their own because the CNA is so busy. They may fall and break a hip, which is known to increase mortality rates in elderly women. So, grandma may fall and break a hip, and die badly six months later.
- The CNA may have 4 patients that must be hand fed. It takes a LONG time to feed an entire meal to an adult. Times four.
- And the CNA will no doubt have to shower a patient, change several incontinence briefs, toilet people, take people to therapy or activities, and manage to feed the four patients lunch.
This is completely impossible to do well. No one can do all of this in an eight hour period. Your loved one WILL be neglected. Not purposely, and it will kill the CNA who has to do it. They will have to cut corners to keep everyone safe.
So, when your Governor (inappropriately according to me) used his veto power to kill your LTC safe staffing bill, he may have also killed your grandmother.
Think about that, New Jerseyan. Did your grandmother deserve that? Why would your governor veto something like that?
It’s time to call his office and demand answers, because he refused to give an explanation in advance of the Iowa Caucus. Surprise, Surprise.
Thanks to all of the CNA’s who take care of our elderly every day.
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