Friday, July 16, 2010

Stoffa Listens to Concerns From Gracedale Staff

In just twelve days, she'll be retired. Nothing that happens at Gracedale, Northampton County's nursing home, can possibly affect her. But Judy Pezzuto, a charge nurse in a Gracedale Alzheimer's unit with 25 years of experience, was nevertheless at County Council's June 15 meeting, waiting to see if an $18,000 study of the nursing home was complete.

Like many in the nursing profession, she cares. She worries that "residents' health and welfare will deteriorate." She believes we should be "taking care of our elderly, who gave so much to this community." Pezzutto was joined by several other nurses and even a laundry worker.

Pezzutto claims "morale is lowest in all the years I've worked at Gracedale." Part of the problem is the result of unfilled vacancies brought about by a County hiring freeze. But even worse is a nursing home administration that is "out of touch" with what is going on. "When the administration changed, everything changed," she said.

As an example of the problem, Pezzutto notes there are only 16 R.N. charge nurses on the floors, yet there are 22 R.N.s in management positions. When floor nurses have questions, administrators are either in meetings or have no answers.

Called the County's crown jewel by its defenders, Gracedale lost $6.29 million last year. And according to Executive John Stoffa, who approached and spoke to these workers after the meeting, the County is well on a way to losing a similar sum this year.

Pat Repsher, an LPN, echoed Pezzutto's concerns, but agreed there's lots of waste. "I see 17 people from parks, cutting brown grass and wasting gas. I see 82 housekeepers. What do you need 82 housekeepers for?" she asked.

Stoffa told these workers that he had just received a draft of the report and recommendations of consultant Complete Care, and it will be ready for the public in a week.

Each of these workers supported selling Gracedale to a private outfit that can manage it more efficiently, provided that it offers the same level of service to residents and is willing to accept County workers at their current compensation levels.

"That would be great," said Repsher.

15 comments:

Sanctifying Grace said...

Bernie,

I only worked at Gracedale for a few months, but let me tell you: the floor that Ms. Pezzuto is in charge of, is the toughest! She runs the Alzheimer's Ward. It can be difficult at times. But her and her staff treat those residents like GOLD.

Like I said, I worked there a few months. I got paid next to nothing, but I really liked my job. I was the resident barber for all the male residents.

All of the residents in the Gracedale facility receive quality care. And I believe it is because it is a county run/state regulated facility. Each resident is assigned a specific caseworker. And the caseworkers follow through. All their needs are met in-house: doctors, rehab, social, spiritual, laundry, food, beauty shop, barber, and etc. If for some reason the staff cannot handle whatever may arise, that is when the resident gets transferred to a hospital.

Also, believe it or not, I have even seen some residents become well enough, to be allowed to return home.

Gracedale truly is the crown jewel of the county. I would just hope, if it would become privatized, that the facility would continue to still live up to the standards that are set high above state regulations.

Peace, ~~Alex+

Anonymous said...

I really feel sad for the residents and staff of Gracedale, they are like lambs being led to the slaughter. All the kind words just mask the cattle shut that Mr. Stoffa and the Council are leading them down.

All the County cares about is a check from the buyer and dumping staff. This will be one of the saddest and most infamous events in County history.

Very, very sad chapter for the County.

Anonymous said...

Shut the chute.

Anonymous said...

Sad thing is the answer to Gracedale was there six years ago. Stoffa could have saved a lot of time and money if he had just read the report commissioned by the bi-partisan committee of the Administration and County Council.

When will the bullshit end in Northampton County!

Anonymous said...

what happened to all the maoney Gracedale made the county in past years? Where did the money come from to buy new vehicles? Were the others that bad off that they could not have been used awhile longer? New furniture where did the money come for that? Right away the finger gets pointed to Gracedale, the execs have enough to pull at their own noses. Anybody that thinks Gracedale is a walk in the park job, step right up take somebodies place and try for yourself. See if you even last a week. Our residents deserve better consideration than being sold down the river.

Dave said...

My wife is a nurses aide. They now work short handed as no new hires are happening. They work thru their breaks just to keep up with the daily routine. A thankless job and she always tries her best to give her best every day because but for the grace of God..we will all end up there in the end. Look somewhere else to get your pound of flesh.

Anonymous said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
Bernie O'Hare said...

If you want to allege some kind of "deal," you have to be specific and identify yourself.

Anonymous said...

Dave, you are right. Unfortunately Bernie is protecting the Administration and deleting any comments trying to shine a light on the subject, if that light is unfavorable to Mr. Stoffa or Mr. Angle.

Anonymous said...

If you want to see how this will wind up just look to Carbon County. The nursing home was recently sold to a private firm and the county made a nice chunk of change on the deal. However, the employees of that nursing home were basically sold down the river.

That being said, I've worked at Gracedale in the past and the one thing that is readily apparent when you work there is that there are too many administrators with FAR too little to do. Start combining some of those jobs. Better yet, get nurses out of positions where you should have business people.

Will that help? Sure doing those things would help, but the fact remains that the government does not reimburse sufficiently for county owned nursing homes, so it would only be delaying the inevitable.

I'm looking forward to the first time the county commissioners bring up the possibility of selling the home. Once they start the process it will move fast. Just make sure that if you are an employee of Gracedale that you have another position within the county to go to.

Anonymous said...

Tell residents family members what is going on. Spread the word of what the County wants to do to their relative. It is time for a grass roots movement to stop this terrible plan.

When families find out the truth they will storm the Government Center.

Please get the word out.

A Believer in Love

Anonymous said...

union brothers and sisters are not suppose to turn on each other!

Anonymous said...

It is called the "Stoffa Effect". Everywhere he goes people are destroyed and chaos reigns but he just strolls on unscathed. Check out his Lehigh County tenure.

Anonymous said...

I WORK AT GRACEDALE I GOT A FEW THINGS TO ADD TO THIS ARTICLE. FIRST HOW ABOUT ALL THE OVERTIME THE RN SUPERVISORS ARE GETTING THEY START AT 7 AM AND ARE THERE WAY PAST 7 PM WHY? AND YOU WANT TO CUT ARE PAY 5 PERCENT AND PARKS CUTTING GRASS THERE 2 TIMES A WEEK NOT EVEN LONG ITS DIRT THATS A WASTE.OH HOW ABOUT THOSE HOUSEKEEPERS THE PERSON WHO SAID THERE WAS 82 WAS OFF BUT ITS STILL TRUE WHO NEEDS ALL THEM , TOO MANEY AND NOT TO MUCH CLEANING GETTING DONE, THATS ALL I GOT ONE QUSTION FOR ANYONE READING WHAT IS YOUR OPION ON GETTING BETTER MANAGEMENT IN GRACEDALE ?

Anonymous said...

I just want to say a few things. The hands on staff that care for the residents are the last ones that should be looked upon. It is true about the amount of RN's that are in administrative positions. The nurses on the floor no longer work 7-3 with a break or lunch they work 7-5,6,etc. There is no lunch or break and the work continues to pile up. Looking for that extra penny to add to the budget. This is crazy, for years no one every talked about Gracedale why? Because for years we made the money. Look at the records...Over the last 20yrs it has cost the count less then 2 million dollars to run. NOw we are in the red because we have given all the money to the court house and to renovations that should have been done as time went on. Not all at once. But as usual the courthouse wanted the money and now we are the ones looking to be sold. What about the prison has anyone looked at how much money it cost to feed the men and women who chose to make the wrong decsions in life. But hey, ya know what lets sell the people that gave there life to paying there taxzes and being hard working citizends and keep the low lifes of the county in the prison.