Nursing home staff and caregivers typically go on strike for reasons they believe will improve patient care in the long run. However, reduced services and care during a strike period can have a negative impact on nursing home residents, potentially putting their safety and well-being at risk.
Further, a strike action can highlight deficits in nursing home care that may not have been otherwise apparent. The recent two-day labor dispute in Redding, California, for example, brought to light understaffing and mismanagement issues that caregivers say put a significant strain on nursing home staff.
How Nursing Home Strikes Affect Residents
Nursing home residents rely on adequately trained, well-rested staff who follow the guidelines and protocol established by administrators and state regulators for their care. Nursing home residents are vulnerable not only to neglect or abuse due to the conditions that may cause a strike but during a strike period, as well.
In Redding, caregivers claimed that a change in management had resulted in unfair labor practices. Caregivers were allegedly overworked and pressured into double shifts. A union representative told Jefferson Public Radio that staff turnover had dramatically increased while the billionaire nursing home owner reaped profits three times the state average.
Staffing Issues Have a Direct Impact on Nursing Home Resident Care
When nursing home caregivers and staff are overworked or lack the training, materials, or time to do their jobs properly, residents suffer. Staffing issues can negatively impact:
- Meal quality
- Facility cleanliness and sanitation
- Resident access to essential health care services
- Hygiene and personal care services
- Resident safety
- Timely access to medication
- Security of personal belongings
Staffing issues leave residents more vulnerable to nursing home abuse and neglect.
When Nursing Home Staff and Caregivers Go on Strike
When Redding nursing home staff went on strike, temporary workers were brought in to provide hygiene, meal preparation and other personal care services for residents.
A complete changeover in staff can be confusing and traumatic for residents, particularly those with Alzheimer’s, dementia or other cognitive disabilities. In one study, researchers identified four critical factors in preventing nursing home abuse: communication, trust between staff and residents, skills and competence and the nursing home work environment.
The very nature of temporary staffing affects each of these key aspects of nursing home abuse prevention.
When nursing home caregivers and staff go on strike, residents are more vulnerable to:
- Theft or misappropriation of assets
- Physical, sexual, and emotional abuse
- Malnutrition and dehydration
- Poor hygiene and personal care
- Anxiety, fear, and depression
- Bedsores and sacral ulcers
- Infections and communicable diseases
How to Help Residents Affected by Staffing Issues
If you believe that nursing home staffing issues are affecting a resident’s right to safe care, act. We can help you understand resident rights and choose an appropriate course of action to bring those responsible to justice. We will secure compensation for the nursing home abuse or neglect experienced as a result of the staffing issue or strike. Call 1-800-516-4783 for a free case consultation.