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Workers tell Nursing Home Owners: Don't Shortchange Resident Care

Thousands of nursing home workers launch simultaneous pickets at 50 homes statewide in fight to improve quality of resident care

CHICAGO, Oct. 10, 2012 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- With signs reading "Residents and care givers must come first" and "Invest in care now," 2,000 nursing home workers across Illinois launched simultaneous pickets at 50 nursing homes today calling on owners to invest more of their profits to raise the standards of resident care.

The workers cited a lack of adequate supplies, high rates of worker turnover and persistent short-staffing as factors that impact the quality of care they are able to deliver. Workers said the owners – all members of the Illinois Association of Health Care Facilities (IAHCF) -- should feel compelled to invest a portion of the cumulative $50.5 million in profits they made last year back into resident care and workforce stability.

"We're understaffed, which means residents can't get the quality of care and attention they need and excessive workloads exhaust the caregivers as they do their best to meet the needs of the residents," said Lavern Harper, a licensed practical nurse at Rainbow Beach Nursing Home on Chicago's south side as she marched with dozens of other workers.

In 2010, Illinois lawmakers passed groundbreaking nursing home legislation that set standards to better address quality care concerns. One important benchmark was requiring adequate staffing levels, a standard that many of the homes still have failed to meet.

SEIU officials said family members of nursing home residents have reached out to workers and the union in the past in search of solutions to problems that impact their relatives. The union played an important role in helping to pass the 2010 legislation that was praised by healthcare professionals. Still, care providers work under stressful conditions that need to be addressed, the union said.

(SEIU Healthcare Illinois & Indiana unites more than 91,000 healthcare, home care, nursing home and child care workers across two states in the fight to raise standards across industries, to strengthen the political voice for working families and for access to quality, affordable care for all families.)

SOURCE SEIU Healthcare Illinois and Indiana