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Staffing levels a concern at long-term care facilities

Posted: July 23, 2020

(July 22, 2020)

By: Amanda Smith, Quinte News

A new survey by the Ontario Health Coalition is shedding some light on staffing issues at long-term care facilities in the province.

Surveys were conducted from July 10-17 province wide and completed by those who work in long-term care homes that range in size from 55 beds to 540 beds.

There were 150 surveys collected with 23 percent of responses from southeast/east (from Belleville east) and three percent from Peterborough/Kawarthas/Northumberland.

The majority of respondents stated they are currently working short staffed (95 percent) and that staffing levels now are worse than prior to the COVID-19 pandemic (63 percent).

It also didn’t matter if the facilities were for-profit, non-profit or public; the majority of respondents answered staffing levels are worse than before COVID-19.

A summary of responses noted staff are doing their best, often missing lunches and not taking breaks, working double-shifts and overtime to make up for the lack of staffing.

Many reported that short-staffing can range from one or two staff missing on a unit or floor, to multiple staff missing on every unit, every department and every shift.

More than 100 surveys reported: residents miss baths or showers entirely or they are delayed, staff do not have time to interact with residents, talk with them one-on-one, spend time with them to provide emotional support, oral care, shaving, nail care and basic care are not done frequently, staff express frustration at having to rush residents’ care all day and staff rarely have time to tidy residents’ closets, kitchenettes, drawers and other parts of their rooms.

More than 50 surveys reported: staff do not have time to feed residents and feeding is rushed and/or inadequate, staff do not have time to reposition residents on time to prevent bedsores and residents have to wait to be assisted.

A link to the Ontario Health Coalition report can be found here.

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