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Long-term care staff shortages worse than ever according to survey

Posted: July 23, 2020

(July 22, 2020)

By: Elizabeth Payne, Ottawa Citizen

A file photo from an Ontario long-term care home. Photo by Brian Thompson /Postmedia

Residents of Ontario long-term care homes are going without baths, missing crucial care and waiting hours for their meals because of worsening staff shortages, a staff survey released by the Ontario Health Coalition suggests.

The survey of more than 150 staff members at 75 long-term care homes revealed a staffing crisis in long-term care resulting in substandard care of residents and unsustainable working conditions for already stressed staff.

With a possible second wave of COVID-19 on the horizon, the situation in long-term care homes is now worse than it was prior to the pandemic, said Natalie Mehra, executive director of the advocacy group and author of the study.

“It is hair-raising,” said Mehra. “We are expecting a second wave and long-term care homes are not ready.”

Although the study heard from a small proportion of long-term care workers across Ontario where there are more than 600 homes, Mehra said she is confident the responses reflect issues that are province-wide. She said her organization has also been receiving calls from workers concerned about worsening staff shortages in long-term care.

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