Employees rally for better nursing home staffing

Capitol News

SPRINGFIELD, Ill. (WCIA)– Nursing home employees from around Illinois were at the capitol Wednesday to demand action on a bill they believe would make their job easier.

Lawmakers say this bill would address staff shortages in care facilities. 

Nursing home workers said staffing ratios are off by a lot. They said they have to take care of essential needs including bathing, feeding and clothing dozens of patients on a daily basis and the job can become overbearing.
 
The bill would implement fines for nursing homes that are understaffed. This bill comes after the state passed a bill to end short staffing in 2010 but workers say nursing homes do not enforce the law, making their tasks much harder.
 
“Before I did mental health, I worked in an Alzhiemer’s unit,” said Shantonia Jackson, a Service Employee’s International Union (SEIU) member. “At one point I used to have 15 patients and each one of them had diapers. So it’s kind of hard to change 15 people in seven and a half hours. Plus making sure they eat and are clean, it’s really hard to do,” said Jackson.
 
One staffer says she has been in the caregiving industry for over twenty years and the current conditions for workers are the worse she has ever seen. 
 
“I’ve noticed that as years went by from when I first started at the CNA, I was working less. But now I am under a lot of stress, because the situation has gotten worse,” said SEIU member Petra Salas.
 
Senator Jacqueline Collins and Representative Anna Moeller are sponsoring the bill and attended the rally. More than 20 new cosponsors were added to the measure within the past month. It is on the senate calendar awaiting a second reading.

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