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National long-term care home standards a priority for healthcare advocates

Posted: April 29, 2021

(April 28, 2021)

Christian D’Avino, CTV News

SAULT STE. MARIE — Healthcare advocates and long-term care workers staged a virtual day of action Wednesday in an effort to improve care at long-term care facilities throughout the country.

The protest was organized by the Ontario Health Coalition and called on provincial and federal governments to set national standards when it comes to ensuring quality care at facilities.

“We want to send a very clear message, let us be 100 percent clear, accreditation is not national standards, not in any way,” said Natalie Mehra, executive director with the coalition.

“We’re asking for care that meets the needs of the residents, for inspections and public reporting, for meaningful accountability and to finally, take profit out of care for our seniors.”

Several care workers shared their personal accounts on the call.

One of those was Rachel MacLean, a personal support worker from the Sault.

‘It really breaks your heart’

“It is so difficult to tell somebody that you respect, like I’m sorry, you need to wait,” MacLean said. “Or when you say I’ll right back and they say oh sure you will, it really breaks your heart and we need more staff to ensure that doesn’t happen.”

MacLean said more training promised in Ontario for PSWs is a good step, but the focus should also be on retention.

“Not everything can be taught in a book or video, which is what a lot of our training is like,” she said. “While I’ve developed my own set of skills along the way, it’s extremely difficult for a newer employee to walk into this profession right now.”

MacLean said she would also support a universal income when it comes to ensuring adequate pay for support workers.

“We need help, the stress of this job can is just too much when we’re so understaffed,” she said. “For example, one student that I had follow me a year and a half ago, is already ready to leave the field. She’s done.”

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