Press Release: Nursing Home Workers Rally at the State Capitol to Stop Short Staffing and Demand Accountability of Nursing Home Industry

Workers Along with AARP Illinois Push New Enforcement Bill, SB 1510, to Address Short Staffing Crisis

Nursing Home Workers Rally in Springfield to Stop Short Staffing

 

(April 3rd, 2019, Springfield, IL) – Nursing home workers rallied at the Capitol Rotunda to call on state senators to bring safe staffing enforcement legislation, SB 1510, to the floor for a vote.

In the span of 10 years, Illinois nursing homes have gotten worse in terms of adequately staffing workers to care for seniors and residents despite the fact that state lawmakers passed nursing home reform legislation in 2010 increasing the minimum staffing requirements by more than 50%.

The new bill sponsored by Senator Jackie Collins enforces the legislature’s previous law by adding more transparency and penalties to nursing homes that fail to properly staff their facilities.

Cook County alone has more lawsuits for nursing home related deaths than any other metro area in the U.S. Many cite bedsores as a lawsuit for a preventable death.

“The nursing home industry simply will not – and cannot – reform itself, nor police itself. They believe that profits matter more than patients and seniors,” said Francine Rico, a nursing home CNA for 21 years and the vice-chair of HCII’s executive board.

“I am a caregiver at heart. But that doesn’t give the nursing home industry a license to take advantage of me, disrespect me and overburden me,” said Petra Salas, CNA Center Home for Hispanic Elderly. “I care for my residents like they are a member of my own family. But because of being short-staffed we can’t spend the time our seniors need because we must keep moving onto to the next resident.”

Nursing home workers were joined by AARP Illinois, as well as the sponsors of the legislation, State Senator Jacqueline Collins (16th District) and State Representative Anna Moeller (43rd District).

“Families, seniors and residents have every right to demand that they are treated and well-cared for, protected from harm, and given the opportunity to live with an integrity that everyone deserves – even when they lose independence, are vulnerable, sick, or suffer from a disability,” said
Senator Collins. “I took on this issue because I didn’t want to read about another constituent or family in my district – or anywhere else in Illinois for that matter – suffer due to abuse, neglect, or injury at a nursing home.”

“Even though the nursing home industry is clearly powerful – I want you to know that working together, we are stronger, “ said Rep. Moeller. “The nursing home industry doesn’t not want and is fighting against more accountability and transparency.”

Shantonia Jackson, a CNA for more than 10-years said, “Sometimes I have 36 residents to take care of. You can’t take care of all their needs. And there’s always the chance that residents will get into a fight or get violent. For me, the worst part is not being able to give my residents the care they need or deserve.”

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