Ottawa Personal Support Worker Sounds Alarm Over Long-Term Care

Ontario is setting up its long-term-care system to fail because of a lack of funding, says an Ottawa personal support worker who says more people from inside the system need to speak up about what they are seeing.

“Our government does not support long-term care. They may pretend to, but the reality is, they don’t,” said Peter Dunnigan, who now works as a personal support worker visiting patients in their homes.

Dunnigan said that, in his experience, more personal support workers are badly needed. He described the “morning rush,” working on a long-term-care ward as a personal support worker, and the experience of trying to get 16 or more residents ready for the day.

“You can’t provide quality care in the morning rush,” he said. “(PSWs) are stressed out, taking on more responsibilities and falling behind. It makes the environment toxic.”

Dunnigan says the situation is making it difficult for personal support workers and others to provide quality care and to preserve the dignity of patients.

The Canadian Union of Public Employees says Ontario has fewer health-care staff in long-term care homes than the rest of the country. CUPE says Ontario long-term-care homes provide about 3.15 paid hours of care, compared to 3.67 in the rest of the province. CUPE is asking for a minimum of four hours of care per resident.

 

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