A report on the shortage of Personal Support Workers written by the Ontario Health Coalition was presented at a press conference today in Tillsonburg.
TILLSONBURG - A report on the shortage of Personal Support Workers (PSW) written by the Ontario Health Coalition was presented at a press conference today in Tillsonburg.
It looks at the P-S-W crisis in long-term care homes across Ontario, including Oxford County. Long-term care homes reported that they are working with shortages on almost all shifts, every day. The shortages mean that there are not enough PSWs to staff existing beds let alone the planned new beds that are urgently needed to address long wait lists.
Co-chair of the Oxford County Health Coalition Melissa Holden says it is extremely important to understand that PSW's love their jobs.
"They don't going into being a PSW for glory or fame, they go into it because they want to take care of people and they want to help. So to go to a job and go home every day and not feel like you have done your job and feel like you have no job satisfaction is very difficult to do. You go to work every day with the hopes of providing people with the care they deserve and go home and know that you have left people wanting."
Holden explains the impact this is having on families in Oxford County.
“The situation in Oxford County is critical. Staffing shortages are threatening the safety and care of residents and harming staff too. The crisis cannot be solved locally alone. This means that action needs to be taken by our provincial government to solve this problem. We are calling for increased funding directed to improve PSW staffing levels, wages and working conditions, for a minimum care standard, for support for violent and aggressive residents’ care, for free tuition or grants, and other measures. These are practical solutions that can be implemented right away by the Ford government.”
President of Unifor Local 636 Brent Thompson says the PSW shortage is having a noticeable impact on just about every long term care home in Oxford County.
“In Oxford County and the surrounding regions our long-term care homes are working short-staffed in virtually every home, every day, every shift. Our Personal Support Workers are passionate about their jobs and want to do everything they can to help our seniors in long-term care but they are forced out of the sector because wages have remained too low for too long and working conditions are becoming increasingly difficult. Our workers are literally getting injured on the job because they don't have the support they need, and so they are often left without any other choice but to find a different job.”
PSW from Oxford County Caroline Ford says they really do care about their patients.
“My loved ones are my everything. I think we can all say that. Who are our loved ones? Parents, grandparents, spouses, siblings, aunts, uncles and children. We all want the best for them. This includes PSW care in long-term care homes. We want this for them. They need it and deserve it. We need to stand together and help change the PSW crisis. Today it is your loved ones we are caring for. Tomorrow, it could be you."
The Health Coalition is asking the Province to step forward once the Time To Care Bill is reintroduced later this year. You can find more information about the PSW crisis and help out the cause online here.