Providence caregivers are being overworked

Regarding The Herald’s Nov. 25 story about contract talks with employees of Providence Hospital and Homecare (“High caseloads are compromising care, hospice workers say”):

I am a hospice nurse with Providence. A patient recently brought this article to my attention. I don’t live in the Everett area so I did not read it until recently.

And it bothers me that there is information in the article that clearly is false and misleading. Particularly this statement by Mary Beth Walker, Providence spokeswoman:

“The union claims caregivers are overworked, when in reality both our home health and hospice caregiver caseloads are below the national averages and are no higher than any of our other home health and hospice facilities in Washington.”

I know for a fact this is not true, because out of frustration, I interviewed with the other main hospice provider. I was told that nurses were expected to see three patients a day and they did not have productivity numbers as they were aware Providence has. Here at Providence, our productivity goals by management are to see four per day, and if we don’t have four on our schedule, we are asked to call in to see if help is needed to maintain the productivity goal.

Three patients a day may seem like it’s not too much for someone who isn’t familiar with the work. If you factor in all the phone calls, orders, etc., that need to be attended to, three can be just enough to keep the work day within eight hours.

Kristin Fahlstrom

Lake Forest Park

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