December 17th, 2020

More supports needed for frontline long-term care staff

HALIFAX-- The NDP is calling for increased investments in staffing for long-term care facilities to ensure residents get the care they deserve. The Human Resources committee will meet today and discuss issues around recruiting and retaining continuing care assistants (CCAs).

“Report after report has recommended that staffing levels be increased at nursing homes in Nova Scotia. The Liberal government must see the need and make the necessary investments to improve the levels of staff for each resident,” said Susan Leblanc, NDP Health spokesperson. “Making sure that we have enough nurses and CCAs to provide the care that residents of nursing homes need should not be a partisan issue. We know, especially after the last ten months, that long-term care cannot be ignored.”

The wages paid for LTC facilities are universally low which contributes to staffing issues. According to a Freedom of Information request received by the NDP Caucus about the COVID-19 outbreak at Northwood Manor in Halifax, there were frequent critical staffing shortages during the first wave and many of the staff who tested positive for COVID-19 were CCAs who work in extremely close proximity to residents.

“We know that many frontline long-term care workers work multiple jobs for low wages. This leaves them in a very precarious position,” said NDP Labour spokesperson Kendra Coombes. “There are high rates of vacancies and turn over with CCAs and we need to be finding solutions that support workers to provide the care that residents deserve.”

Today’s witnesses were scheduled to appear at the November meeting of the Human Resources committee. Today’s meeting will be held virtually and can be watched at youtube.com/NovaScotiaLegislature.