Kane centers chief vows to look into claim that staff shortage during snowstorm affected care |

Kane centers chief vows to look into claim that staff shortage during snowstorm affected care

Charles Norgren’s 82-year-old mother is supposed to be helped out of bed every day at 10 a.m.

A stroke left her paralyzed on one side, so she has been a resident of the John J. Kane Regional Center assisted living facility in McKeesport for about three years, unable to get up by herself.

But during the snowstorm Saturday, Norgren said, his mother and the woman she shares a room with were left in their beds all day. A supervisor told him that many staff members called off from work.

“They keep telling us they have a sufficient number of people, which they don’t,” said Norgren, of West Mifflin.

Dennis Biondo, executive director of the four Kane Regional Centers, said he hadn’t heard reports that a staff shortage jeopardized medical care.

Sixty-five certified nursing assistants were scheduled to work across three shifts at the McKeesport center that day, he said. Fifteen didn’t make it to work.

“There were call-offs during the weekend, and it was more than normal, but no one suggested as a result that residents weren’t able to get out of bed or weren’t adequately cared for,” Biondo said.

He said he will look into whether Norgren’s mother or other residents were left in their beds that day, which is against Kane policy and presents a concern.

“I have a duty and obligation, and I am going to follow up if that did occur,” Biondo said. “I just wish he had called us and told us that.”

Norgren said he spoke with a shift supervisor about it. He has told Biondo and other supervisors in the past his worries about short-staffing and its effect on the quality of his mother’s care, he said.

“When it’s consistent, especially the weekend when they had that snow thing, that made me mad,” Norgren said.

His mother has always received meals and medication on time, he said, but she has told him that she has been left in her bed several hours longer than she is supposed to be.

The stroke didn’t affect her mental health, Norgren said. She likes to socialize and enjoy meals with the other residents in the community room.

In the years that she has been a resident at Kane, Norgren said he has seen a quick turnover of nurses and aides.

But Biondo said that isn’t unusual for the Kane centers — or assisted living facilities in general.

Kane is “constantly” hiring and accepting applications for registered nurses, licensed practical nurses and nursing assistants. The four Kane centers have about 950 full-time and 80 part-time employees.

If there is a staff shortage on a particular shift, administrators would call in nurses or contact outside agencies that contract with the county, Biondo said.

Elizabeth Behrman is a Tribune-Review staff writer. Reach her at 412-320-7886 or [email protected].

TribLIVE commenting policy

You are solely responsible for your comments and by using you agree to our Terms of Service.

We moderate comments. Our goal is to provide substantive commentary for a general readership. By screening submissions, we provide a space where readers can share intelligent and informed commentary that enhances the quality of our news and information.

While most comments will be posted if they are on-topic and not abusive, moderating decisions are subjective. We will make them as carefully and consistently as we can. Because of the volume of reader comments, we cannot review individual moderation decisions with readers.

We value thoughtful comments representing a range of views that make their point quickly and politely. We make an effort to protect discussions from repeated comments either by the same reader or different readers

We follow the same standards for taste as the daily newspaper. A few things we won't tolerate: personal attacks, obscenity, vulgarity, profanity (including expletives and letters followed by dashes), commercial promotion, impersonations, incoherence, proselytizing and SHOUTING. Don't include URLs to Web sites.

We do not edit comments. They are either approved or deleted. We reserve the right to edit a comment that is quoted or excerpted in an article. In this case, we may fix spelling and punctuation.

We welcome strong opinions and criticism of our work, but we don't want comments to become bogged down with discussions of our policies and we will moderate accordingly.

We appreciate it when readers and people quoted in articles or blog posts point out errors of fact or emphasis and will investigate all assertions. But these suggestions should be sent via e-mail. To avoid distracting other readers, we won't publish comments that suggest a correction. Instead, corrections will be made in a blog post or in an article.