“1199SEIU applauds the release of the Manatt report, which covers concrete recommendations for next steps to protect residents of NJ’s nursing homes and address the systemic, underlying conditions that contributed to the situation we are in today.
“We need a long-term care vision that truly learns the lessons of the past two years—the tragedy at Wanaque that should have been the wake-up call, and the current crisis we are now in. The vision outlined in this report is a step towards respecting these lives lost, young and old, by acknowledging the need to reorganize and integrate nursing homes within a spectrum of long-term care.
“It’s time to build a new system that better values the lives, agency, and personhood of those who depend on round-the clock nursing care, while supporting the critical workforce.
“The recommendations laid out in this report include regulatory and legislative action, and we must have both. We need long-term, thoughtful legislation to stabilize the workforce and establish direct care staffing ratios, bring greater transparency to the industry, and fund nursing home care appropriately. Yet there are also immediate, short-term actions that need to be put in place in the interests of residents’ health and the safety of all workers—resolving lingering gaps in infection control, PPE, testing, and staffing, among other concerns. We are still in a moment that is about saving lives; this pandemic is not over.
“As we go forward from today, the broad debate in our state about the future of care must be guided not by politics, but by epidemiologists, clinicians and public health experts, and with the voices of nursing home residents, their family members and caregivers being front and center.”
*** SEIU 1199 represents 16,000 healthcare families in New Jersey and over 450,000 members throughout the country.