Posted by u/ambora 14 hours ago

A word from a PSW of 8 years about LTC in Ontario, in light of the Minister walking out of a news conference.

LTC was in shambles long before the Conservatives got voted in for Ontario. I'm not an apologist for any political party, but as someone with extensive experience as a PSW over the past 8 years, I can attest that the corruption and neglect present for years from both the government and the companies of that sector itself transcends whichever political party is overseeing it. The only right thing for us to do now is to be educated, aware, and demand ongoing change from whichever incumbent is present.

Nursing homes and community agencies have been abusing government funding, understaffing their teams, keeping thin margins on supplies, and putting tremendous workplace pressure on PSWs since before I even got started. The standard of care, rate of pay, and employee satisfaction in government owned and operated facilities (which are far outnumbered by private ones), by my observation, has been far higher than what the private entities offer as well. I'm willing to bet that the turnover and rate of burnout is second only to Paramedics, but goes largely unseen because of the lack of regulation and wellness resources available. Which is a major reason this role is often treated as a stepping stone into other professions, like nursing.

So where would I suggest we start? Well, deprivatizing the LTC sector isn't going to happen, but this weird semi-privatization we have going is the root of the problem; but we have to work with it.

Realistically we need heavier auditing and professional assurance that government funding is being spent appropriately and properly. Not just handing it out to the companies and letting it get washed a few times into stakeholder hands. How many times have we seen that happen in the past year?

It also needs ongoing supervision that standards of care are being met on an ongoing basis, rather than the Ministry only getting notified when someone is dying, has died, when there is evidence of abuse, or an employee has reached their breaking point. As has been the reality for years now. What else can you expect when the standard for over a decade has been to have 3 PSWs responsible for an entire ward's personal care? Realistically it's usually 2 because there's always someone calling in, and hardly anyone willing to subject themselves to it outside of their regular hours. So 2-3 people serving 28-35 residents. It should be a minimum of 5. To any PSW reading this: How many times have you been told that the policy is to have 2 people operating a mechanical lift, but you do it by yourself because you "have to"?

I'm interested in seeing how or if these things change following the light that has been shined on this area as a result of the pandemic. This profession desperately needs licensing and regulation as a standard, and standard workplace policies enacted and enforced by the province to ensure the health and safety of both PSWs and their clients.

These tragedies in LTC were indeed the result of the COVID pandemic, but were caused by gross negligence and this sector's inability to competently manage itself in the years leading up to it.
68 Comments Share Save