By: Casey Nolen
KSDK — Health care workers at the Missouri Veterans Home are unhappy with their working conditions, and Wednesday they picked up picket signs to get their point across.
It is the CNA’s, Certified Nurses’ Assistants, who are upset. They are the professionals who often have the most one-on-one contact with the residents — performing a wide range of jobs and making sure residents are comfortable.
But the working conditions, they say, are unacceptable
About a dozen off duty CNA’s picketed outside Veterans Home Wednesday. Some from other facilities showed up to lend their support.
At issue are staffing levels. They say there are not enough CNA’s to cover all the shifts; which leads to long hours for them and, in their eyes, inadequate care for the veterans living there.
Management at the Veterans’ Home says it tracks quality of care closely. It has reduced the total number of CNA’s on site; doing so by replacing temporary CNA’s with fewer permanent employees. But that, the management says, means better care.
"We have an opportunity then to better educate our full time employees, said Jan Rau, the Administrator of the Missouri Veterans’ Home. "They have more of a commitment to the facility. And, therefore they are doing a better job than the part time workers that we had before."
"If that staff is overworked they can’t function," says Regina Furr, a CNA at the home and the shop steward for the union that represents the CNA’s. "It does take away from the residents and we all are here for the vets."
NewsChannel 5’s Casey Nolen was able to speak with a few of the veterans who live at the home. While they do have suggestions for changes they’d like to see, overall they seemed satisfied with their care. They agreed that the CNA’s are overworked.
The CNA’s have a contract coming up in August that will be negotiated at the state level for all Missouri Veterans’ homes.