Excerpt from the OH&S Canada magazine
Increasing Staff to address manpower shortages and enhancing access to health professionals were among the five recommendations and 22 action items that the minister’s expert advisory panel on long-term care delivered on January 15, 2019 to improve the quality of long-term care in Nova Scotia over the next two years.
The recommendations, which focus on improving the skills mix and transitions of care between health-care facilities and overall system performance, were made following extensive consultations with 375 stakeholders. Three systemic themes – complexity, culture and fragmentation – surfaced consistently during consultations. Pressure on the system, including complex and high need admissions, high rate of chronic disease and dementia and human-resources challenges in recruiting and retaining staff, contributed significant strain to the system.
Across the province, nursing-home staff were regularly short-staffed, leading to additional work responsibilities and high rates of stress and illness. Unfilled vacancies and difficulties attracting new talent need to be addressed in the short term, the panel recommends.
“We recognize there is work to do, including addressing the stigma around long-term care that undermines good work that is ha happening,” says Cheryl Smith, a panel member and long-term care nurse practitioner in Amherst. “We believe the recommendations in this report will help to improve the quality of care and increase the confidence of residents, families, staff and the public.”
PSWs, (personal support workers) as well as nurses, can have a very hard time when dealing with the care of a patient that is suffering from some degree of dementia or is incapacitated is some other way. Dead weight can be difficult to lift or move, therefore, the number of PSWs that have had sick time in the past is large. If the lost-time incidents/accidents in Ontario are in line with other provinces then 50% or over is a very real possibility. Possible double-shifts or expanded hours can lead to fatigue which may lead to injury.
I do hope the recommendations are taken seriously or we may not have enough support workers to look after the large amount of baby boomers ready to retire.
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VP & Senior Trainer
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