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What happens when the nursing home staff goes on strike?

On Behalf of | Nov 23, 2020 | Nursing Home Injuries |

Care workers in Chicago have repeatedly signaled their intent to strike for improved conditions during the pandemic. But if a work stoppage does occur, what does that mean for the care of your loved one?

Thousands of nursing home employees around the city planned a strike in the spring but stopped short when they came to a contract agreement. Now, hundreds more employed across nine Chicago nursing homes are planning to follow course. If they step aside, it’s important to know that your family is still getting the care they need. That begins with knowing exactly the kind of care you can legally expect.

Unhealthy transitions

Failed bargaining attempts can create a vacuum in continuous care, and nursing homes could have a hard time replacing everyone from the cleaning staff to certified nursing assistants. Management or temporary workers will often fill the gap.

Without any transition or employees with hands-on experience with your family member, their care could suffer. Knowing their specific needs can take time to understand, but missteps can quickly lead to deteriorating health.

Shifting responsibilities

Spotting gaps in care can make a big difference in warding off deteriorating health, so it’s important to know the standards of the Illinois Department of Public Health:

  • Access to care: Your family member should be able to get the medical care their doctor orders. A changing staff isn’t likely an excuse for missed medications or mismanaged equipment.
  • Day-to-day needs: Workers are generally required to help with nutritional, hygienic and grooming needs for residents who can’t handle the tasks themselves. Lapses during a shift change could quickly lead to health concerns.
  • Staffing requirements: Competent, skilled supervision is heavily regulated when it comes to nursing homes. Any staff brought in will likely have to meet the standards for the number of on-duty, qualified personnel.

Inspections only happen about once each year, so it can be hard for investigators to pick up on problems as they happen. With swift changes possible following a workers’ strike, it could be more important than ever to be able to spot the signs of failed care.