Nursing Frustration Nation – CNA Edition

Ok, friends…..I am going to rant a little.  Just a teeny tiny bit about a healthcare policy issue that is completely eating me alive.

I wish it was not an election year.  #NJGovNot4LTC

You know that I am completely incensed about Chris Christie’s Veto of the LTC safe staffing bill in NJ.  I even went so far as to write a layperson-friendly blog about what this would mean to families and patients in LTC in NJ.

New Jersey Governor Chris Christie addresses the annual  Conservative Political Action Conference (CPAC) at National Harbor, Maryland, outside Washington, DC on February 26, 2015.    AFP PHOTO/NICHOLAS KAMM        (Photo credit should read NICHOLAS KAMM/AFP/Getty Images)

And I can get no traction on it. NONE.  Because of the debates, the mudslinging, and the freaking super bowl.

I keep thinking about New Jersey’s terrible LTC facility rating, and all of the elderly people who would benefit by the bill being passed.. And Governor Chris Christie vetoed this bill.  He is rich and will never have to spend time in a nursing home.  He will be able to afford care at home.  What about the middle class elderly? What about the grandparents in New Jersey for god’s sake?

According to Nursing Home Report Cards, New Jersey gets a D rating in number of direct care staff.  CNA’s.  CNA’s do most of the front-line work in LTC facilities, and the staffing in NJ is terrible.

How can this man be ok with warehousing the elderly in squalor? With too few direct care staff, the elderly will sometimes be forced to soil themselves before someone can get them to the toilet.  The patients who have had strokes and need help will wait for their meals, hungry and watching other patients eat while ‘waiting their turn’ to be fed.  Bedsores, infections, falls, wounds….I could go on forever.  Why are we allowing this to happen? Hip Fractures KILL the elderly.  We need adequate staffing!

Why did Chris Christie do this to the elderly in New Jersey? It is absolutely shameful.  

Does he not understand the implications of what he has done? Has he completely failed the elderly by not doing any research or asking any experts? Is his golf buddy a LTC Facility owner? This makes absolutely no sense.  These were not lavish staffing ratios.

How can we allow this to go on in other states? What are you going to do to help our frail elderly?

This breaks my heart. Please help get the word out.





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Author Janie Garner

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Join the discussion 7 Comments

  • Traci Harr RNC MSN says:

    He needs to walk in a CNAs shoes & be a patient then maybe the lightbulb will go on. If not, a hammer might knock some sense into him. This is deplorable & unfortunately becoming the norm thanks to Obamacare & the push to “warehouse” our elderly. Have worked LTAC so I have seen it.

  • Michelle says:

    I hear you, Janie. I emailed my legislators here in NJ to get this passed. I work in a hospital that is surrounded by LTC centers. I have seen the results of poor staffing and heard it from my patients. One poor man had to wait at 18 hours to have a bowel movement cleaned. It was only cleaned once he was hospitalized. He told me that he had been having diarrhea for 3 days prior to being admitted. The staff diaperred him and sent him to PT on an oxygen tank. When he get back from PT, he had another episode of diarrhea. Still on the same O2 tank, he sat in the dining room and had a meal. When he returned to his room, his tank was empty and he was soiled for several hours now. The staff checked his sat and he was 85%. He believes the tank was empty at that time. The nurse eventually sent him to the ED for a low sat. He didn’t get cleaned until he was at the hospital. I totally understand that once he was in distress that cleaning the stool off was low in priority. But it saddens and angers me that he had to sit in a soiled diaper for so long. Thankfully, his skin didn’t have any breakdown!

    • Janie Garner says:

      And this is what we are doing to our elderly?! And Let’s face it CNA’s are not paid well. It’s not like it would even cost them a ton more money. We cannot stand for this, Michelle.

      • Michelle says:

        In a way, I’m glad the pending bill regarding RN staffing in acute care is still in committee. Maybe if we can get Gov. Christie to understand how important this issue is, we won’t have as much as a fight getting hospital staffing. I shared the information on my personal page. I have contacted my elected officials. Unfortunately, Gov. Christie has been spending his time campaigning in New Hampshire. He didn’t even visit the shore areas that had ice floating on rivers in the streets when we got hit by the blizzard. Many bills have gone unsigned, pocket vetoed while he’s been campaigning. He’s “auditioning” for a new job, while not doing his current job. Having lived with him as governor for multiple years, he is egotistical and feels he does not need to justify his actions. He has done some good things for this state, but his ego and personality have prevented some other potentially positive things from happening.

  • Becky says:

    I work in LTC here in Mo. I have had a 17yr career in healthcare. I started as a CNA, then LPN now my RN BSN. Most of my healthcare career has been working with elders. I can tell you that staffing in the LTC setting has ALWAYS been a bad problem. Personally, I feel that there is a many folded problem. Poor attitudes and understanding of cooperation and owners as to the daily needs of residents, staff and families. Over the years the caring of our elders has changed from individual cares to profit and cost cutting. Staffing is justified not to the heavy resident care but to fire safety minimum numbers, combining staff to cross train to reduce cost. I also feel that we don’t have enough people WANTING to work in LTC. Aides can make more at a starting wage at a local factory or fast food place than caring for our elders. Most of the facilities don’t offer great employee benifits to be appealing to staff. It is sad, not to mention that baby boomers will be surging into LTC settings in the next few years- if staff aren’t already strained to the max, we soon will be on overload. We need to change the mental culture of LTC settings and change make it more appealing as a career setting to healthcare providers.

  • Angela Evans says:

    It is a shame. Worked in LTC most of my career as LPN and now RN. Staffing ratios are all about staying in budget. A budget that someone who has never seen the floor makes. Numbers and profit margins. Makes me sick. Was told once when I kept insisting we needed more staff by the regional director “prove to me what is not getting done”. SERIOUSLY? I WAS FUMING. Ok, so as the nurse what do I NOT do to prove we need help? Not give the pts meds? Not chart? Of course I’m going to bust butt to get what NEEDS done at my own expense such as not peeing or taking breaks or eating. Not to mention quality care for the elderly. Maybe I would like to have extra time to sit and hold the hand of someone suffering and be able to talk to them for a bit instead of “take your pills and I’ll see ya later”. Completely ridiculous the standards of care. God forbid you have so much staff that we actually find ourselves with a few minutes of nothing to do!

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