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‘I left feeling incompetent’: Grace Villa nurse reveals why she resigned after Hamilton’s worst COVID-19 outbreak

Posted: June 17, 2021

(June 16, 2021)

By: Maria Iqbal, Spectator Reporter

The mental-health impact of COVID-19 on long-term-care staff is “one of the untold stories of the pandemic,” says the executive director of the Ontario Health Coalition.

“The staffing levels are worse than ever,” said Natalie Mehra. “We continue to hear of staff leaving in significant numbers … just because they can’t do it anymore.”

Natalie Mehra, executive director of the Ontario Health Coalition.

Natalie Mehra, executive director of the Ontario Health Coalition. Canadian Press file photo

Workers are haunted by the large number of deaths in their homes and their inability to provide care as more of their colleagues got sick, she added.

“Staffing shortages beget staffing shortages,” Mehra continued. “The worse it gets … the more people leave.” The Long-Term Care Commission report in April recommended the province address staffing and working conditions in the sector, and to fast-track Ontario’s commitment to provide an average of four hours of direct care per resident by 2024-25.

The report adds that care home licensees should cover counselling services for residents and staff who were in long-term care during the pandemic.

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