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].