CORNWALL, ON – Providing the best care possible to frail long-term care residents despite constant staffing shortages and too low provincial funding, is an uphill struggle, say staff at Cornwall’s Parisien Manor. They held a noontime rally, Tuesday, December 10, outside the home located at 439 Second St. East, to underscore to the community the many challenges they face daily.
“Also we want to make it clear to everyone in our city that we all need to support increasing care time for residents. We must prioritize care for our most vulnerable,” says Sylvie Point the president of the Canadian Union of Public Employees (CUPE) 3389. The 75 staff, including registered practical nurses, personal support workers (PSWs), dietary workers and other staff at the home represented by CUPE, “are exhausted and demoralized” by overwork and understaffing.
Across Ontario long-term care employers are struggling to attract and retain staff, particularly PSWs.
“This rally is an urgent call for help, increased care, and funding. We urge the area MPP to listen,” says Charlene Van Dyk, chair of CUPE Ontario’s health care workers committee.
Early in 2019, CUPE polled thousands of Ontario long-term care staff about their workplace experiences. Depending on where in the province they worked 60-75 per cent of them said they are unable to provide residents adequate care.
In their April 2019 provincial budget, the Conservatives cut long-term care budgets. Home and community care got only $155 million, much less than the $250 million increase the sector received in recent years.
“These cuts will further compromise the quality of care for residents and take an overworked and exploited workforce to the brink. The starting point is for the government to announce a real increase in funding for long-term care,” said Michael Hurley, President of the Ontario Council of Hospital Unions (OCHU/CUPE) who spoke at Tuesday’s rally in Cornwall.
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