Media Availability: Caregivers to Share Stories on Detrimental Cuts to Bedside Care

Media Availability: January 17, 2012

**MEDIA AVAILABILITY**

Caregivers to Share Stories
on Detrimental Cuts to Bedside Care

Healthcare workers will travel to the Florida Capitol to work towards the passage of HB 569 and
SB 1332 to restore safe staffing for nursing home residents (available for media interviews)

Tallahassee, Florida – The budget cuts to bedside care in nursing homes, passed last year, have impacted thousands of nursing homes residents – putting their lives in danger.  Healthcare workers, families, advocates and retirees will travel to the Capitol to tell the stories of increased falls, infection and bedsores and ask lawmakers to restore the budget cuts.

The 2011 legislation cut safe staffing levels in nursing homes from a minimum weekly average of 2.9 hours of care per resident per day to 2.5 hours.  This shortens the amount of time caregivers spend with families’ loved ones by 18 minutes per day.  Representative Mia Jones and Senator Mike Fasano have recently filed HB 569 and SB 1332 to restore staffing levels to ensure that elders in Florida have at least the minimum level of care recommended by experts.

“When we learned the state rolled-back minimum safe staffing levels, we felt like our wings were clipped and wondered how are we going to take care of people’s loved ones in the best way possible,” said Doreen Holm, a CNA with 23 years of experience who has worked at Avanté Nursing Home in Palm Beach.

To encourage the passage of the safe staffing legislation, healthcare workers will educate lawmakers on the life-threatening impact these cuts are having on Florida’s seniors.  They will deliver booklets filled with 18 stories to the offices of Governor Rick Scott, Senator Mike Haridopolis and Representative Dean Cannon– to signify the 18 minutes of lost care per day and ask for quality healthcare to be a top priority.

“Because of these cuts, basic, simple needs that the rest of us take for granted everyday are not being met.  If they get their teeth brushed, it’s a good day,” said Jean Berg, 32-year veteran nursing home worker and Pasco County CNA.  “As caregivers, we are put in a terrible position of having to prioritize and the most pressing situations come first – which leaves others at risk of falling out of their beds and not being fed on time.  Lawmakers must take this seriously and do the right thing for our elders!”

Media availability: Healthcare workers, families with loved ones in nursing homes, advocates and retirees are available for media interviews on January 18, 2012 at the Florida Capitol.  Contact Leah Barber-Heinz to set up interviews.

1199SEIU FL healthcare workers have launched the “Every Minute Counts” campaign to protect nursing home residents from potentially life threatening health risks.  Please visit www.everyminutecountsflorida.org to download the Quality Care toolkit, which is a detailed guide to ensuring that residents are receiving quality care and what to do if they are not.

With 350,000 members in Florida, New York, New Jersey, Massachusetts, Maryland and Washington D.C., 1199SEIU United Healthcare Workers East is the largest and fastest growing healthcare union in the country. Our mission is to achieve affordable, high quality healthcare for all. The 24,200 healthcare workers represented by 1199SEIU in Florida have a proven track record of finding common sense solutions to improve the quality of life for all Floridians – from the passage of landmark safe nursing home staffing legislation and increasing the minimum wage to ensuring smaller class sizes for our students.

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