HARRISBURG, Pa. — Members of SEIU Healthcare Pa say, the state's nursing home regulations are archaic and have not been updated for decades. They say, that has contributed to the issues seen in nursing homes since the pandemic began.
Pennsylvania currently ranks fourth in the country for nursing home COVID-19 deaths, according data gathered by AARP. At least 10,000 Pennsylvania COVID-19 deaths have been from residents of nursing homes.
Monday afternoon, union members will ask state leaders for improvement on a number of issues including:
- Safe staffing. Specifically, increasing the minimum staffing requirement -- which is now only 2.7 hours of care per day per resident -- to 4.1 hours of care per day, which is what CARIE, AARP, federal government, and dozens of scholars and advocates agree is necessary to provide patients with a safe environment and quality care.
- Protections for residents and caregivers when nursing homes are sold or undergo change of ownership, which often results in deteriorating conditions, job standards, and enduring ownership only transfers to responsible operators.
- Ensure safety for caregivers and residents with a 6-month stockpile of PPE to stem the spread of COVID-19.
- Support and training to provide culturally competent, person-centered care and a focus on health equality for communities of color and those hardest hit by the pandemic.
Last month, with the help of the federal government, the Wolf Administration announced the creation of a task force to help long term care facilities and nursing homes deal with the many challenges of the pandemic. However, many aging advocates and members of SEIU Healthcare PA say, that was not enough.