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Your response to staff cellphone usage

November 12, 2009
by Kevin Kolus
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Should long-term care employees be allowed to use their cellphones on the job?


- Like most companies, work time is for work.

- They’re too distracting.

- For emergencies only.

- Distractions of a cellphone conversation compromise elder safety.

- How can you be caring for a resident and be speaking on the phone at the same time? The residents deserve all of your attention.

- The phone is not only the problem, but the camera on the phone is also a very big problem. Pictures of residents that violate privacy and dignity have been documented in some homes.

- On breaks would be OK. But private phone conversations should not take place while with residents. They’re paying for direct care and attention to their needs during this time. There are systems in place for emergencies!

- They are at work. They should concentrate their efforts on the people in their care. Give 100%.

- Could be a breach of confidentiality as a nursing home in Tennessee was recently cited/staff fined for taking pictures of residents via cellphones and posting them on the web. They should leave them in their cars/lockers and/or look at messages when on breaks and call at work if an emergency arises. Too distracting and are at work to help residents/provide care, not to use cellphones and/or text all the time that, then, gets out of hand and care suffers ... Delores Moyer.

- Minimally but each of us has a story and a life outside work … many of us are caregivers as well and need to be reachable in emergencies!

- Yes, but only during breaks.

- I do not feel that long-term care employees should be allowed to use their cellphones on the job. I have seen so many times an employee will be walking with someone down the hall and on the cellphone or in their room waiting for them to complete ADLs. It is rude and very inconsiderate of the employee. Also we are hired to do a job and there is no other job that allows you to talk on your cellphone while working. If they are on break that is fine but not while working.

- Except on breaks—the rest of the time they should be focusing on their residents/clients.

- That is what breaks and lunches are for. We have policy that they have to be left in employees’ cars or lockers. They are not to carry on their person while providing care.

- They need to concentrate on resident care!

- Only to conduct company business, period.

- Although there may be situations where cellphone use is good too many abuse the situation and talk non-company on company time.

- It is a distraction from giving good care to their residents.

- As with any business, personal cellphone use is unacceptable. Need for limits to emergency only and on breaks use. Issues arise when management abuses the policy.


Kevin Kolus

Kevin Kolus


Kevin Kolus wrote for Long-Term Living when he was an editor. He left the brand in 2012...



I wonder how many of us Long Term Care workers would tolerate our waitresses serving our drinks or meals while on the cell phone? What if you were in the hospital and your nurse came in to do adl care or give you your meds, or worse yet, came in to pull a drain tube or start an IV and was on the phone. None of us would tolerate that and our Elders shouldn't have to either.