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Nursing Home Worker Strike Continues to Put Residents Safety at Risk

Nursing home neglect lawyers at the Pintas & Mullins Law Firm have extensive experience working with victims of nursing home abuse and negligence around the country. We have seen the physical, emotional, and financial toll that neglect and abuse often causes, and strongly advocate for the rights of all nursing home victims. When nursing home employees fail to provide quality care, dangerous consequences result.

The ongoing strike at five Connecticut nursing homes raises serious concerns. Ever since hundreds of union employees walked out of the homes early in July, reports have suggested that vulnerable residents may be at risk of harm. In fact, according to one news publication, there is evidence that negligent and even illegal acts may have occurred just hours before the strike.

The nursing home strike happened on July 3, 2012, after 17 months of negotiations came to a complete deadlock. All of the homes are owned by Healthbridge Management, who responded to the negotiation failure by imposing a new contract on workers that cut about $30 million in wages and other benefits. Reports say that the company also eliminated sick days and paid vacation time and froze employee pensions. Many nursing home employees claimed that they would no longer be able to afford health insurance coverage for themselves and their families once the new contract went into effect.

As a result, more than 600 nursing home workers simply walked out instead of accepting the new contract terms. This threw the facilities into disarray and put residents at risk of serious medical harm. Police reports indicate that right before the strike, nursing home employees in at least three facilities may have intentionally put patients in danger by removing id wrist bands and stickers that identified special dietary restrictions. Several items such as stethoscopes and blood pressure cuffs also reportedly went missing.

These troubling incidents may have placed residents in serious jeopardy. Many nursing home residents are elderly and suffer from medical conditions such as dysphasia that need to be properly identified and monitored in order to protect patients’ health and safety. If these reports are true, the safety of residents was seriously compromised in a self-serving attempt to protect the interests of nursing home staff.

Unfortunately, there is still even more potential for harm. Although replacement staff has been hired and supplies have been replaced, overall quality of care may still be suffering. If identification bracelets were removed, replacement workers would not know whether certain patients had food or medication restrictions. Recently, family members of residents at these nursing home facilities have expressed concerns that their loved ones are not being properly changed, washed, and cared for.

With no end in sight, union workers continue to try and protect their legal rights. With the help of the National Labor Relations Board, workers are raising allegations of unfair bargaining practices that violate federal labor law. An administrative law judge is expected to issue a final ruling on this matter in September.

However, as workers remain focused on their own financial and legal interests, it is important that the rights of patients are also protected. Nursing home employees must deliver a certain standard of care to all residents. When this standard of care is compromised and residents are harmed by nursing home negligence or abuse, an experienced nursing home lawyer can help. Compensation may be available for victims and their families. It is important to note that there is a limited period of time in which you can file a nursing home claim, so it is critical to contact a nursing home attorney as soon as possible if you or your loved one have suffered abuse or neglect.