After Statewide Mobilization, Nursing Home Workers Head To State Capitol to Advocate for Safe Staffing Standards at Nursing Home Facilities
Nursing home workers launched week of action targeting Senators Bill Monning, Holly Mitchell, and Richard Pan
CONTACT: Melissa Uribe, (213) 590-9091 (English/Spanish)
California – This week, nursing home workers throughout California have been participating in a Week of Action where they are looking to generate over 1,000 phone calls to Senators Bill Monning, Holly Mitchell, and Richard Pan urging them to support a budget proposal that would improve nursing home care standards which haven’t been reevaluated in almost two decades. Nursing home workers will also travel to Sacramento Thursday to attend the Senate Budget Subcommittee on Health and Human Services to continue advocating for an updated standard of care.
During a Facebook live session, Roseanne Dimenco, a San Joaquin County nursing home worker and member leader of SEIU Local 2015, shared how poor care standards and short staffing at nursing homes meant that many times her grandmother’s call light went unanswered or she didn’t receive food in a timely manner. Dimenco also sustained back injuries on the job due to not having the support needed to lift and move patients.
“They’re being sadly neglected,” said Dimenco. “[My grandmother] was not able to get the quality of care she deserved because there wasn’t enough staff.”
Currently, California only requires nursing facilities to ensure each patient gets at least 3.2 hours of care per day, also known as nursing hours per patient day (NHPPD). This minimum care standard has not been reevaluated since 2001 and falls short of the 4.1 NHPPD level recommended by a federal report.
In 2016, Governor Brown committed to increasing the minimum standards for safe staffing and quality care, a move that is necessary with the number of nursing home patients on the rise at more than 800 new residents a year. Increasing the direct care standard is imperative for the well-being of nursing home patients and their caregivers.
Research shows that less staff per shift to tend to the needs of residents puts patients at risk of unnecessary illness and injury. Furthermore, running from room to room, responding to repeating call lights, lifting and turning patients without assistance, and never feeling like there’s enough time for each resident leads to worker burnout. To properly care for nursing home residents, California needs to do more to retain its current and future workforce so that patients’ and workers’ needs are met. Moreover, better staffing standards result in higher overall quality care and star ratings. For example, Sante Fe Heights Healthcare Center in Compton is at 3.2 NHPPD and has a 1 star rating, while Gem Transitional Care Center in Pasadena is at 4.87 NHPPD and has a 5 star rating.
“Because the state doesn’t require nursing homes to increase their standards of care, workers and patients are getting the short end of the stick and are literally feeling the consequences,” said Samantha Contreras, Legislative Advocate for SEIU Local 2015. “California’s standards are insufficient and outdated. We need more support so that patients can receive the quality care they expect.”
Over a thousand calls were made to Senators Monning, Mitchell, and Pan as they play an important role in the budget process. Senator Mitchell is the Chair of the Senate Budget Committee, Senator Pan is the Chair of the Senate Budget Subcommittee on Health & Human Services, and Senator Monning is a member of the subcommittee and the Senate Majority Leader.
To stay up to date on the “Caregivers Count” campaign efforts, supporters can visit www.caregiverscount.org or text “CARECOUNTS” to 97779.
THURSDAY, APRIL 27:
Upon Adjournment of Session – Budget proposal to improve nursing home standards will be discussed during Senate Budget Subcommittee on Health & Human Services – Capitol Room 4203 and livestreamed on www.calchannel.com
Available for interviews – contact Melissa Uribe to coordinate:
Roseanne Dimenco, Caregiver, San Joaquin County
Available to speak on her experience as a nursing home worker and her family’s experience with having a loved one in a nursing home.
Samantha Contreras, Legislative Advocate SEIU Local 2015
Available to speak on the need for updated care standards in nursing home facilities.