The COVID-19 outbreak and pandemic are causing the world to change quickly. There is now a much higher demand for long-term care facility workers than ever before. In Canada alone, around 80% of all COVID-19 fatalities were residents in long-term care facilities.
Most patients in long-term care facilities are older and have comorbidities, they are not being given adequate care because there are not enough workers to take care of the residents. The reason for this problem is that the facilities do not have enough money to offer competitive pay for workers; they also don’t have the funds necessary to purchase the equipment, medication and more to help take care of the patients.
Canada, among other countries, is now pushing for significant reform of long-term care facilities. Improvements in Canada would make these long-term care facilities part of a universal system that would allow for more funding, more resources, and better care for seniors and other patients that are residents at the facilities.
There is a desire from many workers in the long-term care facilities to want to make them part of the universal system. Amanda Vyce, the representative of CUPE members that work in these facilities as aides and more, says that most private care facilities are trying to make as much profit as possible. In her CBC interview, she stated: “I think bringing long-term care under our public health system is key to addressing the deplorable conditions our seniors in care face. It would also result in more effective and efficient care.”
Though COVID-19 worked to bring the issues of inadequate staff and pay to light, this is a problem that has been rampant in certain facilities for decades. Facilities that were hardest hit were those that did not have the workforce to take care of all the residents as they fell ill. The reason COVID-19 could spread quickly in some facilities is due to them being overcrowded, workers not being able to sanitize areas promptly, and the lack of protective gear that is being provided.
Workers and residents alike need more funding to do more and to live better lives. COVID-19, as terrible as it has been for these long-term care facilities, has brought to light the need for more funding and the need for these facilities to be federally funded to give residents and workers a better chance.
Many seniors that are being sent out of these facilities to hospitals have a better chance of being taken care of because of federal funding. Many experts believe that bringing nursing homes and similar care facilities under the wing of the federal government would help prevent funding shortages, regulate these facilities better, and make a substantial positive impact on the lives of those living in them.
This pandemic has shed light on how vital health care workers inside long-term care facilities are, that it does not compensate them the same as a nurse or a doctor, but they provide critical care for seniors that are dependent on them. Without health care aide workers who will take care of our ageing population.
Some facilities are offering incentives, bonus pay, and more to help bring in new workers to these facilities. Without aides, these facilities could not function. It will undoubtedly take many new workers to recover from the current pandemic and the impression that it has made.
For those interested in becoming a registered health care aide, Columbia College has a program that can help get you out into the workforce quickly.
You will learn the skills and knowledge needed to help you prepare for your certification so that you can get your Health Care Aide Certificate and work at a range of different facilities. There is more need than ever before for health care aides to help these patients in long-term care facilities and to make a difference in the world.