Honor Veterans' Right to Heal this Veterans Day
Since April, Iraq Veterans Against the War has been working with National Nurses United to improve the quality of care at the Jesse Brown VA Medical Center in Chicago. We are still waiting for promised changes to be implemented.
In honor of Veterans Day, we ask that you contact Medical Center Director, Michael Anaya, and remind him that veterans should be getting the highest quality of care with dignity and respect. He must take action on the following issues:
1) Improve staffing ratios. Currently one nurse can be responsible to care for as many as 13 patients during a single shift. This is unsafe for both nurses and the veterans for whom they are providing care. The proper ratio should be closer to one nurse to four or five patients.
2) Comprehensive staff training in Post Traumatic Stress Disorder, Military Sexual Trauma, and Traumatic Brain Injury - conditions that the majority of veterans are dealing with. Currently, staff members report that their only training on these issues comes from watching a short video. This is an outrage at a time when there is an epidemic of suicide and depression among veterans with an estimated 18 committing suicide each day.
3) Better patient garments. This one should be easy. The snaps on the cheap hospital garments patients must wear at Jesse Brown VA are notorious for not staying closed! This can be a major issue, especially for women patients who have experienced military rape or other Military Sexual Trauma.
After IVAW and NNU threatened to hold an informational picket outside of the Jesse Brown VA Medical Center about the inadequate conditions for patients there, the VA administration immediately agreed to a meeting. At their first meeting this past April, Mr. Anaya, the Director, agreed to make some much-needed changes on a number of issues, including the ones listed above. They agreed to have ongoing meetings with IVAW and NNU to report on their progress. However, after making only one improvement on a list of several, the VA has not been acting in good faith, calling meetings last minute or changing locations so that our members or NNU members cannot attend. Mr. Anaya does not seem serious about making the improvements needed to give our veterans the best healthcare.
He needs to hear from you.
As IVAW and NNU prepare to launch this campaign at other VA's around the country, add your voice to the struggle.