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  • max hours forced to work without rest in healthcare field Tennessee

    Hi,
    I work for a company who is regulated and paid by the TN State DMRS to assist the mentally disabled. How many hours can a person be forced to work in TN without any breaks or rest? Healthcare work is working for the mentally disabled who require assistance in their homes, providing contolled medication admin (state lic required), home cleaning, food prep, money, everything for daily and night living...etc. Working 8 hours without breaks is normal in this field.
    I presently work 2-16 hour shifts with only 6-8 hours break (if my shift change shows up on time which is rare, but I also logged this into the state logs) but now it's moving to 40 hours without a break or sleep of any type. You can not sleep for violation of the laws, nor rest in order to provide the proper care for those you are responsible. The clients need constant watch and supervision, but also for my own saftey to get home.
    I would prefer termination over out right violation of laws governing the care of the clients, and If I report the company to DMRS I wont ever work in the field again, and If I follow their directions and anything ever happened to a client then I would be charged with neglect and never work the field again or pass any backgound investigation for any job in any field due to the neglect of the disabled.
    Last edited by jbern; 01-31-2010, 04:59 PM. Reason: verification of position, no not a nurse, direct support staff

  • #2
    Federal law has no restrictions, except for very limited types of work, such as airline pilots and intrastate truckers.

    A very few states have limitations on hours worked in a row for nurses, but I don't know if your state is one of them. Are you a nurse?
    I don't respond to Private Messages unless the moderator specifically refers you to me for that purpose. Thank you.

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    • #3
      Doesn't the federal law apply more to interstate truckers (long haul truckers) as opposed to intrastate drivers?

      We don't know if OP is a nurse but per my reference (if correct) Tn. is not one of the few states that limits the hrs. that can be worked in a row by nurses.
      Too often we underestimate the power of a touch, a smile, a kind word, a listening ear, an honest compliment, or the smallest act of caring, all of which have the potential to turn a life around. Leo Buscaglia

      Live in peace with animals. Animals bring love to our hearts and warmth to our souls.

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      • #4
        Originally posted by Betty3 View Post
        Doesn't the federal law apply more to interstate truckers (long haul truckers) as opposed to intrastate drivers?
        .
        Oops, I always get those two mixed up.
        I don't respond to Private Messages unless the moderator specifically refers you to me for that purpose. Thank you.

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        • #5
          Ok, I thought you prob. just got them mixed up.
          Too often we underestimate the power of a touch, a smile, a kind word, a listening ear, an honest compliment, or the smallest act of caring, all of which have the potential to turn a life around. Leo Buscaglia

          Live in peace with animals. Animals bring love to our hearts and warmth to our souls.

          Comment


          • #6
            Originally posted by jbern View Post
            Hi,
            I work for a company who is regulated and paid by the TN State DMRS to assist the mentally disabled. How many hours can a person be forced to work in TN without any breaks or rest? Healthcare work is working for the mentally disabled who require assistance in their homes, providing contolled medication admin (state lic required), home cleaning, food prep, money, everything for daily and night living...etc. Working 8 hours without breaks is normal in this field.
            I presently work 2-16 hour shifts with only 6-8 hours break (if my shift change shows up on time which is rare, but I also logged this into the state logs) but now it's moving to 40 hours without a break or sleep of any type. You can not sleep for violation of the laws, nor rest in order to provide the proper care for those you are responsible. The clients need constant watch and supervision, but also for my own saftey to get home.
            I would prefer termination over out right violation of laws governing the care of the clients, and If I report the company to DMRS I wont ever work in the field again, and If I follow their directions and anything ever happened to a client then I would be charged with neglect and never work the field again or pass any backgound investigation for any job in any field due to the neglect of the disabled.
            If you report the company, you are protected. You are also a mandatory reporter.

            Make an anonymous report, and let the chips fall where they may. All interviews are private, and only the decision is reported to the company.

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            • #7
              True, but we haven't determined there is a violation of law yet.
              I don't respond to Private Messages unless the moderator specifically refers you to me for that purpose. Thank you.

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              • #8
                That is up to the governing agency to decide. Requiring a caregiver to stand a 40 hour shift sounds like potential abuse and neglect to me. If you knowingly place a client in a situation where the caregiver would be unable to be alert during the whole shift it is neglect.

                My company has a policy where if you feel you cannot stay awake, you call a supervisor, and they relieve you with no repercussions. The safety of the client comes first.

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                • #9
                  from jbern

                  No, not a nurse. Direct support staff

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                  • #10
                    Then there is no wage and hour law that is going to prevent the employer from requiring you to work those hours. What does "direct support staff" mean? Are you a CNA or other licensed healthcare professional?
                    I don't respond to Private Messages unless the moderator specifically refers you to me for that purpose. Thank you.

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                    • #11
                      Just as I thought.

                      Patty. OP is a caregiver. he/she is required to be trained in some medical and safety procedures. Training in passing medication, CPR, MANT, and monthly training in various requirements.

                      This field is notorious in the lack of rules to protect the caregiver. The client is allowed to do what ever they want, but we are not allowed to do more than gently restrain them. The management can require us to work ungodly hours.

                      Unless a call is made to your regulating office (DMRS) and the question asked about requiring you to work 40 hours in a row, you can be required to do it. Any problems can came back on you, and then you will be banned from this industry for life.

                      Like I said. Requiring you to work that many hours is a form of neglect to the clients. They need a staff that is alert and fresh for safety reasons.

                      Call and ask the questions. You do not have to give your name unless you want to.

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                      • #12
                        Sounds like this is your industry of expertise, GS, so I defer to you.
                        I don't respond to Private Messages unless the moderator specifically refers you to me for that purpose. Thank you.

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                        • #13
                          Originally posted by Pattymd View Post
                          Sounds like this is your industry of expertise, GS, so I defer to you.
                          Me, too.
                          Too often we underestimate the power of a touch, a smile, a kind word, a listening ear, an honest compliment, or the smallest act of caring, all of which have the potential to turn a life around. Leo Buscaglia

                          Live in peace with animals. Animals bring love to our hearts and warmth to our souls.

                          Comment


                          • #14
                            In the last several shifts, I have been struck at, and spit on, yelled at and accused of abuse. All this in front of witnesses. I get to take care of the Alzheimer clients.

                            It is a good thing that physical contact is a defense in this field. (A hug helps.) You treat them like a child, and most of the time by patience and gentle words you can get the client to calm down. My "worst" client responds well to being treated like a one year old. If all else fails, a "time out" works. Changing the subject is also a good one.

                            I will be so happy to get my Masters and move on with my life!!

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                            • #15
                              I just got off the phone with TN State DMRS

                              This is what I was told. DOL statute requires 2 8 hour sleep periods in a 40 hour shift. This is covered under Federal wage and hour laws. I could not get the specific statute.

                              They gave me several phone numbers. (If they are not in your area, they will give you the right numbers.)

                              615-231-5297
                              615-884-6803

                              Investigations 888-633-1313

                              Explain the situation, and you will get the proper information from the horses mouth. You will not be in trouble at all.

                              Good luck.

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