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PSW shortage is a crisis: 'Life at risk': Ontario Health Coalition

20-May-2020

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According to the Ontario Health Coalition, a recent report by their team shows a significant decline in personal support workers (PSWs) in long-term care homes.

Shosanna Bourgeois has been a PSW for seven years. According to her "I wanted to keep people at home as long as I could to give them dignity and quality of life so that they could complete the rest of their lives with the quality they deserve."

But she says she sees a growing crisis when PSW's lack of access to long-term care facilities during those seven years, and this is affecting her life.

"Residents can sit and sleep in the same clothes they had the day before. Sometimes urine and stool can go on for hours without any significant change, resulting in skin and skin infections."

The bourgeoisie shared her experiences as a PSW at a media event hosted by the Ontario Health Coalition, which sounded alarming about calling it a PSW famine and crisis.

"We're going to see residents suffer and residents die," says Andy Savella, national director of health care at Uniform.

A report released by the Ontario Health Coalition paints a picture.

It states that many shifts in long-term care facilities across the province are working with the reduction of one or two PSWs in all shifts, and in some cases, households are less than 10 PSW per day.

Peter Bergmanis of the Ontario Health Coalition says, "We are few and far between, and we don't have enough staff for most of the year. "This is part of the care that these deserving residents find themselves in."

Bergmanis says that as the PSW shortage increases, patients and staff will have an unsafe environment

Long-term care minister Merrill Fullerton said the government was aware of the shortfall and was taking steps to address the situation.

"So we are looking for ways to make training costs more meaningful and more tailored to individual support workers, so as not to lose them in the health care field."

However, the health coalition says that low wages and unsafe working conditions are to blame and urges the government to increase funding as soon as the situation deteriorates.

"This is a factory out there. These are not vehicles that we produce, they are respectable and quality-of-life people," says the bourgeoisie.

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