In 20 years or so of being a lawyer, I’ve probably talked to more certified nursing assistants (CNA’s) than any other profession. That’s because there are so many of them and since they are lifting and moving all of the time, they have a high risk of injury. A common call is that they were helping lift a patient when someone let go and they hurt their back or they tried to catch a falling patient and hurt their back or arm. Of course there are plenty others who slip on wet floors, often due to patient spills of all sorts.
One thing has changed about our CNA calls in recent years. In the last decade many facilities are getting bought up by big national groups. There is less of a focus on the patient experience and more of a focus on maximizing every last dollar. It’s resulted in these companies having many shifts understaffed which has become the number one cause for CNA’s getting injured at work in Illinois.
You don’t become a CNA unless you have a heart of gold and like helping people and the ones I’ve met also have great work ethics. So if there are 70 residents and only three people staffed for a shift, you’re not going to ignore someone because it’s more work than you are supposed to do.
As a result, when you are running around like crazy, not taking a break and doing extra work, it’s no surprise when an accident happens. It’s really just a matter of time quite often.
So what can you do? Depending on the type of facility, there are different requirements as to the amount of care each patient is required to receive and the staff members needed to comply with that law. We’ve had callers tell us that they had a 40/1 patient to nurse ratio at times which is insane. Call the Illinois Department of Labor as you should be able to report your issues to them anonymously. You can also call the Illinois Department of Health.
And if you are unfortunately injured, do know that the Illinois Workers’ Compensation laws will protect you. Report your injury right away, get medical care and make sure you don’t treat with their doctors. And like anyone, call us at (312) 346-5578 or fill out our contact form if you need help. There are no up front costs and we will give you free advice and protect you.