Malton Village, The Toronto Star, June 22, 2018.
In a recent Toronto Star article by Moira Welsh, the headline is “Long-term-care residents struggle with loneliness, physical, and mental decline amid staffing crisis”. 4000 staff members are infected across the province which translates into lack of hands-on-care for the many residents within LTC. Residents, particularly those living in institutional type LTC homes are struggling from loneliness and lack of physical movement. Some LTC homes are on full lockdown with residents isolated in their rooms! Click here
The staff shortage that came about is too complex to delineate here. Certainly, many are infected with Omicron. And also problematic is government legislation that has capped pay increases at one per cent annually for three years. LTC Homes are seeing staff leave their jobs as they accept higher paying positions elsewhere.
If there is any good news about this, then look at the smaller emotion-based models of care where 8-12 residents live in homelike settings. These residents do not suffer loneliness to the same degree as they live in an environment where staff, residents and volunteers are like family. One private operator with 14 homes, has tried to attract workers by paying for accommodation, meals or transportation. They also planned ahead for the staff shortage and increased their staffing levels.
Currently, the provincial government is developing Regulations to accompany the new “Fixing Long-Term Care Act, 2021″. Sufficient staffing is key to meeting quality improvement criteria without living in a continuous emergency situation. The use of full-time, consistent staff, who are provided a living wage and provide four hours of direct care must begin now, not 2024!