No quick fix for PSW shortage: Ontario Health Coalition
SUDBURY -- The Ontario HealthCoalition released a new report in Sudbury on Thursday called 'Caring in Crisis-Ontario’s Long-Term Care PSW Shortage.'
The group is urging the government to take action to stop the devastating impacts on our seniors.
Unifor, the union representing thousands of personal care support workers, known as PSWs, says it’s not using the word "crisis" lightly.
"We have had some resident deaths over the past year. That investigation highlighted that the lack of hands-on care contributed to those deaths, and we are hearing all kinds of horror stories across the province with long-term care facilities working short,"said Unifor national representative Andy Savela.
Shawn Mathe has been a personal support worker in Sudbury for eight years. He believes proper care takes time.
"We want to provide as much dignity and respect to our residents. With the time allotted from the government, we don’t have enough time. That’s our main concern right now, is time," said Mathe.
The Ontario Health Coalition says there are shortages on almost all shifts, every day.
"They are not able to find staff. There are people who are calling in. There is compassion, burn out, there is just a number of reasons why. And the people, the generations, are getting older and they are going to be needing more care,"said Melissa Wood, Co-Chair of the Sudbury Health Coalition.
Terry Martyn is on the Grand Family Council representing families of people living in seven long-term care facilities in Sudbury.
"If the government doesn’t do something to attract more and more workers, we have a workforce in long- term care homes in northern Ontario that is retiring. There are fewer people to replace those workers,"said Martyn.
Mathe points out the Long-Term Care Homes Act is 13-years-old and needs to be revitalized and reformed.
"So Doug Ford, come to us, come with us for one shift, and I guarantee you, you will be walking out of there with your tail between your legs," said Mathe.
The Ontario Healthcare Coalition and Unifor say they recognize there are noquick fixes. Right now, they want the government to legislate a measurable and enforceable level of care in long-term care facilities.