1199SEIU and NJ’s LTC Ombudsman call for passage of nursing home staffing legislation
On Thursday, the NJ Senate and Assembly will vote on bill S2712/A4652 to establish minimum certified nursing aide (CNA) staffing levels in nursing homes.
New Jersey— Family members, caregivers and advocates across the state are joining together to call for immediate passage of S2712/A4652. For years, New Jersey has lagged the nation in the hours of daily care provided to nursing home residents by their primary caregivers, certified nursing aides. As the pandemic swept across New Jersey, the situation deteriorated further as workers were faced with even greater challenges protecting their residents from COVID-19 while combating the trauma of social isolation.
Signing this bill into law is a vital step towards transforming New Jersey into a national model for quality nursing home care, by requiring operators, the overwhelming majority of whom are for-profit, to invest more resources into frontline care.
Milly Silva, Executive Vice President of 1199SEIU United Healthcare Workers East:
“This legislation will bring overdue relief to nursing home patients and their caregivers. This reform is needed more than ever, especially as residents are more reliant on the direct care staff for all aspects of daily care and social support due to limited visitation and COVID-19 safety protocols. 1199SEIU urges every lawmaker to support New Jersey seniors and our healthcare heroes by passing this bill immediately.”
Laurie Facciarossa Brewer, New Jersey’s Long-Term Care Ombudsman:
“Every single day, the Office of the Long-Term Care Ombudsman receives multiple calls from nursing home residents (or their representatives) complaining that there are not enough staff to attend to their needs. By establishing concrete and measurable staffing ratios, this bill cuts to the very heart of the problems we encounter regularly in long-term care facilities.
“If properly implemented by the provider community and enforced by the NJ Department of Health, these new staffing ratios will reduce suffering and will result in a better quality of life for tens of thousands of New Jersey citizens who are living in long-term care communities today.”
Sharon Delaney, daughter of Patricia Robertson, who lived at a Monmouth County nursing home before passing away on February 1, 2020:
“My mother’s nursing home had a pattern of inconsistent care, primarily in the evenings and on the weekends and holidays. That’s when it was the worst and when their staffing issues were a serious problem.
“There was always an excuse (‘Oh someone called out sick,’ etc.) but the unsafe pattern was there, nevertheless. We were there every day because we knew that that was the only way she would get even the basics of care. They would see me walking through the door and the receptionist would be on the phone, telling them that I was coming. One of the main reasons why I put my mom on hospice was because I knew she would have more care and more support.”
Margaret Boyce, 1199SEIU member and certified nursing assistant in Edison, NJ:
“It’s hard to express all the ways that better CNA staffing levels will improve the quality of life for our residents. Sometimes it’s just the simple things, like having a few extra minutes to comb a resident’s hair or listen to their story, that make an immeasurable difference to their day. Other times, it’s about basic safety—is there another CNA around to assist me in lifting a resident out of bed? I urge every lawmaker to stand with me and my residents and support this bill!”
1199SEIU United Healthcare Workers East is the largest and fastest-growing healthcare union in New Jersey and nationwide. We represent over 16,000 healthcare families in New Jersey and over 450,000 total members throughout New Jersey, New York, Massachusetts, Maryland, Florida, and Washington, D.C. Our mission is to achieve quality care and good jobs for all.