Some 270 nursing home caregivers, members of 1199SEIU, who work as certified nursing assistants, licensed practical nurses, dietary aides, housekeepers, and activity aides are going on a 24-hour strike at 5 a.m., this Friday, June 23. because of the infamous Michael Konig.

Nursing home operator Konig, once dubbed “landlord from hell” by the New York Daily News and with a decades-long legal history—including payouts to resolve allegations of resident neglect and failure to abide by wage and hour laws—is now under fire for poor working conditions and unfair labor practices at three NJ facilities.

          Senate Majority Leader Loretta Weinberg has issued the following statement on the upcoming strike: “Nursing facilities which receive significant funding from public tax dollars have an obligation to use those resources with the utmost responsibility.  The women and men who do back-breaking work caring for our elderly loved ones deserve fair treatment and respect.  Michael Konig must bargain in good faith with his employees and reach a settlement that values these caregivers for their essential work.”

Nursing home workers who are members of 1199SEIU have announced a 24-hour strike at three facilities operated by Michael Konig, owner of Broadway Healthcare Management, to protest unfair labor practices and demand that their employer invest in better jobs and staffing levels for caregivers.

Each of the three nursing homes—Amboy Nursing and Rehabilitation Center in Perth Amboy, ManhattanView Nursing Home in Union City, and Teaneck Nursing Center in Teaneck—has staffing levels for certified nursing assistants (CNA) that fall below state averages on a majority of shifts, according to data from the NJ Department of Health.  CNAs are responsible for providing direct care at the bedside, including feeding, dressing, and bathing residents.  The overnight shifts are especially understaffed, with levels within the bottom fifth of all nursing homes in the state.  Caregivers say lack of sufficient staff makes it difficult to provide the type of quality, one-on-one care that residents need.

Residents want to get up at a certain time of day, but sometimes they’re stuck in bed because we’re so short-staffed and there’s no one available to assist them,” said Cerese Abraham, a certified nursing assistant at Teaneck. “Short staffing is becoming the norm.  A lot of us have high blood pressure from all the stress that brings—one CNA even passed out during a recent heat wave because she was so overworked.”

Earlier this year, the National Labor Relations Board (NLRB) issued complaints against all three facilities for failing to bargain in good faith with the workers’ union, 1199SEIU.  After a thorough investigation, the NLRB also charged the nursing homes with failing to make the required contributions into the employees’ education fund.  And at Amboy Nursing and Rehab, the NLRB has issued a complaint for the company’s failure to make the necessary contributions into the employees’ health benefit fund, which resulted in some workers being left without health insurance.  A similar investigation regarding employee health benefits is currently underway at ManhattanView.  All of the charges are being consolidated into a single case by the NLRB, for a trial slated to take place later this summer.

For months, nursing homes operated by Michael Konig have engaged in a pattern of unethical and illegal behavior that violates employees’ rights and jeopardizes their ability to deliver quality care to their patients,” said Milly Silva, Executive Vice President of 1199SEIU.  “It is incredibly irresponsible for Mr. Konig to force caregivers into a position where striking is the last option they have.  We do not want to strike, but we cannot allow this employer to undermine job standards in nursing homes.”

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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 400,000 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.

NJ.com reported that three certified nurse aides were indicted over claims they abused patients at residential care facilities across the state, authorities said. The caregivers were charged in separate indictments according to the state Office of the Insurance Fraud Prosecutor.

Danny Brown worked at Lopatcong Care Center nursing home. Brown was witnessed by coworkers punching a 53-year-man in a wheelchair and threatening to break his neck. Brown was indicted on third-degree charges of making terroristic threats and endangering another person.

Cairy Chrisphonte is accused of hitting an an 87-year-old dementia patient in the head and arm in front of coworkers at the Daughters of Miriam nursing home. She faces charges of fourth-degree assault upon an institutionalized elderly person.

Debra L. Matela was caught on a surveillance camera kicking a wheelchair out from under a 73-year-old woman at the Northbrook Behavioral Health Hospital. She was charged with third-degree aggravated assault.

“We are putting the health care community on notice that we are prepared to use every law available to protect New Jersey’s elderly and disabled patients from abuse,” said acting state Insurance Fraud Prosecutor Christopher Iu in a statement.

Last year, state Attorney General Christopher Porrino announced a new program loaning out hidden cameras to New Jersey residents who fear their elderly and infirm relatives are being abused by home care workers. State authorities later expanded the program, “Safe Care Cam,” to include patients at residential facilities as well.

 

The St. Louis Post Dispatch reported the arrest of James Royce Weber charged with raping a resident who has dementia.  Farmington police were called to Presbyterian Manor last month after concerns were raised by a visitor. Police say that after Weber left the room of a 74-year-old resident, a supervisor went into the room and found her partially unclothed.

 The woman told authorities she had intercourse with Weber. Police say Weber admitted to having sex with the resident on two occasions about three weeks apart.

Philly.com had an interesting article about lack of staffing at nursing homes compared to what CMS expects the staffing to be based on the resident’s needs.  An Inquirer analysis of data from Medicare cost reports provided by SNFdata Resources LLC found that the median nursing home (half are above; half are below) in the eight-county Philadelphia region provided 71 percent of the registered nursing care expected by the federal Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services based on how sick the facility’s residents were during the annual inspection.

Brookside Healthcare & Rehabilitation Center provided 39 percent of the registered nursing a day expected by federal regulators during a recent three-year period.  Advocates, academics, and other experts state that’s a sign of a company out to boost profits.

For overall nursing care, which includes RNs, LPNs, and nursing assistants, Brookside’s 4.1 hours per patient day was well below the 4.9 hours a day expectation calculated by federal regulators based on the mix of patients at Brookside during annual inspections.

The federal expectation is not a legal requirement but what is expected by CMS based on reimbursement and payments.  “That’s one of the problems. They don’t have to use the money that they get for staffing, and they don’t have limits on administrative costs and profits,” said Charlene Harrington, a professor emeritus at the University of California-San Francisco, who has found that RN and total nursing hours correlate with better care. “The whole point of the money is to give it for nursing care.”

Shareese Reynolds, an LPN who has worked in nursing homes for 20 years, said she has seen the gap between RNs and other nursing staff firsthand. RNs who serve as unit managers are sometimes counted as direct-care staff, but they don’t give much direct care. “They are in meetings all day, and I believe they leave it up to LPNs to really do most of the work,” Reynolds said.

The public’s view of staffing is expected to improve next year, when CMS starts publishing staffing data that come straight from nursing homes’ payroll systems.

A rat-infested nursing home littered with dead flies has been shut down after caregivers were accused of disconnecting a call bell because they thought it was “irritating”. Inspectors from the Care Quality Commission found residents wearing the same clothes for days, dead flies in a potato peeler and people “not treated with dignity” at Bentley Care Home in Liverpool.

The report added: “The premises were not safe, with faulty electrics regularly giving staff static shocks, and people permitted to smoke in their bedrooms – putting everyone at a potentially devastating fire risk.”

Debbie Westhead, CQC deputy chief inspector for adult social care, said: “The care we found provided at Bentley Care Home was appalling. It’s disgraceful the call systems were broken, or taken away from people who required help because they were described as a nuisance.

McKnight’s reported the arrest of Stephanie Sanders Hays, a social services director for Leslie Lakes Retirement Center, for stealing nearly $400,000 from residents between 2012 and 2016. The amount stolen by Hays also included Social Security and pension payments, as well as German Holocaust reparations.

Between September 2012 and February 2016 Hays allegedly “executed several schemes” and abused her power of attorney for at least one resident to steal money from that resident’s bank account, IRAs, annuity plan and money from the sale of a house. She also reportedly purchased items requested by residents with forged checks from the facility.

Hays was arrested Friday and charged with 15 counts of thefts of the assets of a person who is aged or person with a disability; 19 counts of money laundered; 17 counts of forgery; and 17 counts of exploitation of persons with infirmities. Her bail was set at $300,000.

She was previously arrested in December 2013 for unauthorized use of a deceased resident’s cell phone to send text messages.

ABC News had an article explaining how short-staffing affects the care provided to nursing home residents.

Ms Earle believes her mother, Joyce Cockerill, died because there was not enough staff for the residents in her nursing home.

“I’m positive there wasn’t enough staff. They didn’t have cleaners. The nurses had to do the lot,” she said.  “The meals were brought over in a tray and the nurses had to serve it, and feed, clean them, bath them, shower them, bed them.”

Val Earle says her mother would still be alive today if she hadn’t fallen and broken her hip at a nursing home.

“She was calling out for assistance, for somebody to help her go to the toilet, and apparently nobody came,” Ms Earle said.

“She just tried to go by herself without the wheelie walker and fell over in the bathroom and broke her hip.

“She was lying there crying in pain, and the lady in the next room had a visitor, her daughter, and she could hear mum singing out and no-one was going near her, so she went looking for staff.”

The Medical Journal of Australia has published a new study showing avoidable nursing home deaths have increased by 400 per cent over the past 13 years.

Falls were the number one killer, followed by choking and suicide.

The author of the study, Monash University’s Professor Joseph Ibrahim, says nursing homes — unlike hospitals — have failed to improve their care standards over the years.

 

 

 

 

Sounds just like American nursing homes.

Donna Chapman died Monday after suffering fatal third-degree burns as she smoked unsupervised in her wheelchair at NHC HealthCare. Chapman had been wheeled onto the nursing home’s patio and left there alone to smoke a cigarette before dinner.

She was partly paralyzed from a stroke and had the use of only her right arm. Somehow Chapman’s clothing caught on fire, and was found ablaze by an attendant. The attendant returned to find Chapman on fire, then ran to get help instead of using the fire blanket that was stored on the patio.

Her family was shocked when they saw her in the trauma center. Blackened parts of her skin were coming off. Her badly burned clothes were reduced to scraps. Her bra disintegrated. Her white hair was charred black. She lingered in the hospital on Mother’s Day, then died at 12:01 a.m. Monday.

She caught fire and burned,” her daughter-in-law, Mary Portscheller says. “The doctor said several times that she had very deep burns on her breast, her back and the back of her head.”

At the burn unit at Mercy Hospital St. Louis, a doctor explained to Chapman’s family that the burns were so bad she would need eight skin grafts, painful procedures that might be too much for her.

“He said it would be tough on her to do all these painful skin grafts,” Portscheller said. “So we knew we were going to lose her.”

Relatives of a nursing home patient who suffered fatal burns while smoking a cigarette are questioning how long she was left unattended and whether proper procedures were followed before and after she caught fire.

• How did she get burned so badly, over 20 percent of her body, if left alone for only 10 minutes?

• Why wasn’t Chapman wearing a special fire-resistant smoking apron, which was assigned to her months ago?

Three months ago, the nursing home assigned her a smoking apron, a silicone-coated fiberglass fabric that covers someone from their shoulders to below their knees. It protects wheelchair users from accidental cigarette burns.

• Was the attendant who saw her on fire trained to use a specially made fire blanket to smother the flames?

NHC HealthCare’s administrator, Seth Peimann, told the Post-Dispatch that Chapman’s death was “a bad accident. This is a very difficult time here at the center,” Peimann said. “A lot of people were really attached to her. She was part of our family. We miss her.”

CBS New York reported the conviction of Jacky Stanley, an employee of Northeast Center for Special Care nursing home for sexually abusing six residents who had suffered traumatic brain injuries, the New York state Attorney General’s office announced.   Stanley will face between 8 1/3 and 25 years in prison, according to Attorney General Schneiderman.

Prosecutors said between July 2014 and February 2015, Stanley used his position to gain access to residents and forcibly perform oral sex and other acts. He even abused one resident while the resident slept, the release said.

“Jacky Stanley used his position as a caretaker to commit reprehensible and disturbing acts of abuse. The bravery shown by his victims at trial will help ensure that he will never be able to terrorize vulnerable New Yorkers again,” Schneiderman said in the release.

Artesia Daily Press reported on the Associated Press article about New Mexico’s lawsuit against one of the nation’s largest nursing home chains, Preferred Care Partners Management Group. The lawsuit stems from thin staffing at nursing homes across the state that made it impossible to provide good care.

New Mexico Attorney General Hector Balderas says many patients suffered as a result and some died. New Mexico alleges residents were not getting the care they needed, and the state and federal government were being improperly billed.

“This is going to be a very compelling case that we bring before the jury, and we’re glad that the judge is siding with many of our motions to have this case move forward,” he said.

The lawsuit uses a novel approach to outline its claims, relying on the number of hours it takes to complete basic tasks, from helping residents to the bathroom to feeding and bathing them.

These are real people in these places,” one family member said of the patients. “When you have a shortage of staff, when you have uncertified nursing assistants working there, when you have individuals who don’t speak English, it’s just one thing on top of another. It’s not about a person missing a bath one day, people are dying from neglect.”