Northampton County Dealing With Gracedale Asbestos

Stoffa says administration taking issue "so seriously," but workers say it's not enough.

Members of Northampton County's employee safety committee are asking the county to deal with asbestos in the basement of the .

On Thursday night, one of those workers, Ted Harris, told county council he thinks the county isn't taking employee concerns seriously.

"We are experiencing people who, instead of hearing of what we have to say, are listening for what they want to hear," Harris told the Express-Times.

But County Executive John Stoffa says the county isn't ignoring the issue.

"Believe me, we've taken this issue so seriously," he said, noting that the county has already spent $800,000 on asbestos clean-up at the nursing home.

According to the Express-Times, the clean-up -- involving workshops and storage areas -- could take the next four weeks.

Stoffa also said he thinks the asbestos discussion is driving people away from Gracedale.

"Every time we talk about asbestos, that population goes down," he told council. "We have people treating this like it's nerve gas."

The issues aren't isolated just to Gracedale; Stoffa said is also dealing with a similar situation at its law library, which has forced officials to throw out all of the library's books.

Lori Kohnlein February 05, 2012 at 05:33 PM
From what i know about Gracedale,living in Nazareth for 17 yrs.The people may be concerned about the Basement, but their 1ST concern would actually be that when they need a nurse that one would be there for them. The MOST concern should be for the welfare of the person in ALL aspects. Lets start by having Enough staff for the people. It is horrifying to know that as these patients ask simply for a glass of water....they must wait an hour just to receive it. Breakfast which goes from 8-10 am is still being eaten at 11 am or so. People continually laying around in feces for hours,SHOULD NOT BE. Your nose alone can testify to such behaviour. People from outside companies are even hired to come in an look after these people..the stories would sicken you. Some have looked for nurses to assist the ones they are looking after(they are limited in what they are allowed to do with a patient) there are no nurses half the time on an entire floor. Wait!!! NO NURSES on an entire floor.Serious problem God forbid someone should fall or even be in cardiac or something else and NO ONE is there.The article says people are leaving Gracedale, well, YEAH..Between dying (leaving), lack of help and care (leaving) and Asbestos...wouldnt you leave.????? I know you can only move so fast on cleanup in basement, but lets tackle the care of patients too!! talk to residents! All this said in much love for those who are in need..... I know these needs will be met
DebMel February 09, 2012 at 01:53 PM
The issue of cutting staff at county nursing homes is not limited to Gracedale. I have a sister who has worked at Sunnyview in Butler county (western PA) for over 20 years as an LPN, and the concerns are similar. It has been years since she has had the luxury of taking her break, she literally runs through the day, often cannot finish everything she needs to do during her shift (gets reprimands for both not finishing and for staying late to do so). The increased paperwork demands severely cut into time spent tending to patients - regulations designed to prevent problems exacerbate them. She will be able to retire soon with a good pension: I grouch about paying it as a taxpayer, but her ability to retire financially is a life saver for her: the heavy lifting, being constantly on her feet, and hostility from management has taken a huge toll on her health. Her saving grace is that she is such a caring person.


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