Understaffed Nursing Homes Contribute To COVID-19 Worries

covid-19 nursing homes understaffed

As of Friday, May 1, nursing home workers at 64 Illinois facilities have said they will strike on May 8 due to the lack of personal protective equipment (PPE), safety training, testing, emergency benefits, hazard pay, and paid time off for coronavirus-related illnesses. The workers are represented by SEIU Healthcare, a growing union of healthcare, child care, home care and nursing home workers in the Midwest.

According to the most recent news release by SEIU, “Family members, faith leaders and community supporters will call upon nursing home owners to promptly settle a fair contract with the provisions needed to safeguard both workers and residents—including above-poverty base wages, hazard pay during the current crisis, appropriate and adequate levels of PPE, plus the increased staffing levels to support quality resident care.”

Many of the workers have also been reported to say that facility owners and operators have “refused to increase staffing levels or protect workers’ healthcare coverage and haven’t been transparent about COVID-19 cases within their facilities.”

Workers are calling for:

  • short-term, one-year contract that would set a wage floor of $15 per hour for all workers and $16 per hour for certified nursing assistants
  • 50% hazard pay bonus during the crisis
  • additional 80 hours of paid sick leave for COVID-19 or related illnesses

Understaffing is Often a Nursing Homes Biggest Challenge

It’s not a secret that nursing homes need more staff, funding, supplies, and resources to support resident needs, especially in the greater Chicago area. Even though the state requires 2.5 hours of direct care for residents each day, about a quarter of the residents in Chicago-area facilities are living in understaffed conditions putting them at risk for abuse and neglect.

This issue has become even more widely noted and true during the coronavirus pandemic, where more than 160 facilities with confirmed cases of COVID-19, some with rapid community spread, have been documented in Cook County. These challenges force employees to be responsible for an overwhelming number of patients with high care needs. As a result, proper infection control protocol has become greater relaxed or ignored.

If you suspect an understaffed nursing home facility has contributed to the decline of a loved one’s health and wellbeing or put them in danger during this unprecedented time, please contact us for a free consultation with a nursing home abuse and neglect attorney.

Ask For Help and Contact Levin & Perconti Law Firm

Through our work, the attorneys at Levin & Perconti understand the challenges understaffing presents related to the care of nursing home residents who have the right to be treated with respect and dignity, especially during a challenging time such as this.

Together we will help determine if you have a case, notify the proper authorities if necessary, and vigorously pursue justice for you and your loved one. There is a statute of limitations for filing elder abuse cases in Illinois, so please contact us now for a free nursing home negligence consultation at 312-332-2872 or toll-free at 877-374-1417.

Also read: Steven Levin Speaks with Chicago’s ABC7 About Coronavirus and Understaffed Nursing Homes





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