January 11th, 2022

Houston must act on unacceptable long-term care staffing shortages

HALIFAX – The Houston government must address staffing shortages in long-term care that have been at unacceptable levels for years. The province’s health committee will look at this issue today and discuss ways to ensure staff have the support they need and residents receive the care they deserve.

“The very first thing they should do is Immediately increase the wage of CCA’s to $25 an hour and provide mental health, physical health, as well as dental benefits to increase interest in the sector,” said Vicky Levack, a resident of long-term care and advocate. “Residents should also be included in the hiring and training of people on their own units and we need single occupancy rooms for all residents to improve the living environment and cut down on the spread of viruses like COVID-19.”

Both The Nursing Homes of Nova Scotia Association and the Government’s Expert Advisory Panel on Long-Term Care have called for a full-scale review of staffing in long-term care. Wage increases and a legislated increase in the minimum hours of care residents receive are both needed.

“Residents and staff both deserve to have better conditions in long-term care. Residents often wait too long for the care they need and workers are burning out because staffing shortages cause so much stress,” said NDP Health spokesperson Susan Leblanc. “This is not a new problem. There is no more time to wait. The Houston government must make the investments needed to ensure we retain the staff we have and provide the care people need.”

Today’s Health Committee will discuss the issue of staffing in long-term care. The committee will meet virtually from 1-3 PM.