Latest Sparrow Hospital Staff Cuts Put Patients at Risk

Contact: Sara Wallenfang, 517-974-4966

Nurses and health care professionals object to the loss of patient sitters

(Lansing, MI) Effective late last week, Sparrow Hospital is no longer employing patient sitters except for in cases of suicide risk. This cost saving measure puts the elderly, dementia patients, and other vulnerable patients in unnecessary danger.

“Nurses and Patient Care Technicians are critical to providing safe care,” said Katie Pontifex, Intermediate Float Nurse. “A serious fall or other injury can take place in an instant, the assistance of a patient sitter is often essential to ensure the safety of the people in our care.”

A sitter, while not qualified to provide skilled medical care, keeps an eye on the patients most likely to need assistance with basic needs such as using the bathroom. They provide a critical set of eyes and alert more qualified health care professionals when there is a problem.

“Our duty, our passion is to keep our patients safe, to give them the care we would give our own families and to help them get back to their life.  We are not able to be in every room at all times. If one of our patients is prone to harm themselves or others, we need to protect them,” said Jeff Breslin, RN and President of the Professional Employee Council of Sparrow Hospital (PECSH/MNA).  “In place of using restraints, we would much rather have a patient safety sitter who can provide human interaction to help ensure our mothers, fathers and grandparents are safe.  This allows us, the nurses, the ability to provide the professional care our patients deserve.”


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