Direct care workers are a critical yet undervalued part of the long-term care system. On this episode, Desma Reaves, a certified nursing assistant and delegate for the healthcare workers union 1199SEIU upstate New York, chats about her experiences as a certified nursing assistant (CNA) in COVID-ravaged nursing home, the difficult tradeoffs faced by nursing home staff, and how the dangerous working conditions put nursing home residents in harm’s way.
Interview recorded March 25, 2021 and edited for clarity.
Background reading and references:
- Learn more about 1199SEIU at https://www.1199seiu.org/.
- A LeadingAge report, “Making Care Work Pay,” found that increased wages can benefit workers and care recipients.
- Central Park Rehabilitation and Nursing Center in Syracuse (where Reaves works) experienced a COVID outbreak in the spring.
- According to NY DOH, Central Park Rehab has 22 COVID-related deaths through March 29, 2021.
- Central Park Rehab’s staffing rating is two out of five stars and its overall rating is five out of five stars.
- Central Park recorded an average of 3.0 hours per resident day of direct care (RN, LPN, & CNA) in the second quarter of 2020, according to LTCCC’s staffing report based on payroll-based data. A landmark 2001 study indicated that 4.10 hours total care staff HPRD is needed to ensure that residents receive critical care.
- Desma’s recommendation:
Host: Eric Goldwein
Music: Liturgy of the Street by Shane Ivers – https://www.silvermansound.com