Caring in Crisis: Ontario's Long-Term Care PSW Shortage

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A Socialist Project e-bulletin ... No. 1957 ... December 18, 2019
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Caring in Crisis: Ontario’s Long-Term Care PSW Shortage

Ontario Health Coalition

The Ontario Health Coalition released a new report developed in partnership with Unifor on the Personal Support Worker (PSW) crisis in Ontario’s long-term care homes. In a press conference at the Ontario Legislature, Natalie Mehra, Executive Director of the Health Coalition, noted that we chose the word "crisis" carefully. The situation is so extreme that funded long-term care beds cannot be opened because there are not enough PSWs to provide the care.

The report is based on eight round-table meetings held across Ontario over the last year, including more than 350 participants including home operators and administrators, PSWs, union representatives, family councils, seniors, college staff who develop/coordinate PSW courses, local health coalitions and other long-term care advocates.

"The conditions of work are the conditions of care for residents," said Natalie Mehra. She emphasized, "The PSW staffing crisis is real. Every long-term care home, every shift, in the north and in the south, rural and urban, we are hearing the same thing from... hundreds of front-line staff, families of residents and home operators. PSWs have taken heavier-care and more complex patients year after year, risking injury and harm, without pay and working conditions that are commensurate to the work. Most of the tools to fix this situation are in the hands of the provincial government which instead of acting urgently to fix the crisis, is actually cutting funding."

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