-"Understaffed, overworked and underpaid"

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    This article reflects how I feel certainly. Look at the hourly wages (this is identical to Florida, same wage)There has to come a time when the importance of human life and caring takes precendence. Either the pay and conditions improve or the government and/or Churches and communities formulate how they are going to care for the growing elderly populace.In my worst nightmares I envision a populace out of control and a government full of heartless paper pushers and money pinchers, that cry "Euthanasia or Dr. Kevorkian", RIGHT NOW it is daily neglect and abuse because there are too many patients and too few staff. The medical errors are ten fold because the staff is temp, brand new or apethetic. This cuts straight to the heart for me, many of these people have served this country, MADE this country only to be left in excrement, dehydrate, die of loneliness and lack of stimulus. I stay in Long Term Care because I can not abandon these deserving people. Some can not cry out for help and many misguided loved ones attack the very Nurses that do try to help. It is frustrating and labor intensive work. We need change NOW!!!
    Michele

    from the Associated Press:
    Nursing home workers rally for more money, better working conditions
    By MIKE RECHT
    Associated Press Writer

    CONCORd-"Understaffed, overworked and underpaid" nursing home employees rallied Thursday for better pay and improved working conditions to meet a growing shortage of health care workers.


    "Who will take care of your loved ones if there are no nursing home workers?" said Karen Hunt, a certified nursing assistant at the Merrimack County Nursing Home.

    She was one of about a dozen people from various unions who gathered in front of the Statehouse to announce formation of the New Hampshire Health Care Workers’ Council to push for improvements.

    Mark McKenzie, president of the state AFL-CIO, said people are leaving the field and there is no one to replace them. He called it "the most serious crisis in the health care profession in many years."

    "They are understaffed, overworked and underpaid," and still they do the job every day, he said.

    "You can’t attract people unless you’re willing to change the culture in the whole business," he said.

    They want decent pay and benefits, a voice in patient care and respect and dignity, he said, adding that it was necessary for health care professionals, management and others to come together to make it happen.

    "Number one is the pay," Hunt said.

    She said the Merrimack County commissioners and health care workers agreed on a 2.5 percent raise in May that was to take effect June 1, but it still needs approval of the county legislative delegation.

    "They’re just not doing it," she said.

    Pay for LPNs (licensed practical nurses) can be about $12 an hour, a registered nurse less than $15 an hour and CNAs less than $10 an hour in nursing homes, far less than nurses in hospitals and doctors’ offices, Hunt said.

    "They can make more at McDonald’s," said Joyce Sperry of the Hillsborough County nursing home.

    A co-worker, Gail Michon, said the home is losing workers to Dunkin Donuts, which can pay more.

    "You’re not going to get people in there to take care of people the way they should be taken care of when they can make more at McDonald’s," Michon said.

    And at McDonald’s, they don’t have to face the stress and sometimes physical abuse, she said.

    Speedy said it is not unusual to get kicked, even beaten up by a resident with Alzheimer’s disease, who believes he is being assaulted when a nurse or an aide tries to change his clothes.

    So why stay?

    Speedy described one man who is turning 90. She has been caring for him for 22 years, "and he calls me mama."

    "Its a different level of communication" than nursing in a doctor’s office or a hospital, she said. "They hug you and give you flowers at Christmas."

    [ June 15, 2001: Message edited by: Chellyse66 ]
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