Heavy hospice caseloads, delayed unionization hurting care | I Advance Senior Care Skip to content Skip to navigation

Heavy hospice caseloads, delayed unionization hurting care

November 27, 2018
by I Advance Senior Care
| Reprints

John Shannon’s growing caseload was causing the social worker in hospice care to rush from patient to patient.

Not alone in feeling overloaded, he joined other employees from Providence Hospice and Homecare of Snohomish County in a push for a more manageable schedule.

They voted to unionize in 2016 to force their employer to the negotiating table. But in the more than two years since joining SEIU Healthcare 1199NW, talks have stalled, according to HeraldNet. The clinic is part of Providence Health & Services and the broader Providence St. Joseph Health system that was started by Catholic nuns.

“Care was being compromised by the higher caseloads,” Shannon said. “The climate seems to be more business driven than driven by the values of the Sisters.”

The union, which represents about 230 workers at Providence Hospice and Homecare and a total of 30,000 members across the state, is asking for a voice in determining staffing levels, along with a wage scale they say matches experience. They say Providence St. Joseph puts profits over patients, pointing to large salaries of the top executives.

“The union claims caregivers are overworked, when in reality both our home health and hospice caregiver caseloads are below the national averages and are no higher than any of our other home health and hospice facilities in Washington,” said Mary Beth Walker, a spokeswoman for the health care organization, in a prepared statement.

At the bargaining table, the workers were offered “a very competitive wage proposal with guaranteed annual increases,” she said.

Each hospice patient is assigned a care team, which can include a nurse, social worker, chaplain and case manager. Much of the treatment is received in the patient’s home. The union also includes workers who provide in-home care for other patients.

Read the full story at HeraldNet.

Topics