Public Values

Winnipeg families speak out on nursing home shortages

Manitoba study last year reported that the ratio of patients to staff was 80 to one.

NUPGE president James Clancy notes the high turnover rate for health care aidesNovember 3, 2008 — The families of patients requiring nursing home care in Winnipeg are speaking out about the inability of overworked staff to provide the care levels their loved ones need. There are simply not enough workers, no matter how dedicated they are, to provide quality care to all residents.

This is an issue that the National Union of Public and General Employees has been working hard to address in all parts of the country. The union recently published a report entitled Dignity Denied: Long-term Care and Canada's Elderly.

"The annual turnover rate among direct care nursing home staff typically runs at 20 percent for nurses and 40 percent for health care aides," NUPGE president James Clancy noted at the time. "Health science professionals such as dieticians, therapists and social workers are often treated as frills and the first to be disposed of when budget cuts are implemented."

Darlene Dowse, a former care-home nurse, says she became aware of the problem after placing her father in St Adolphe Personal Care Home in 2006, and later moving him to Meadowood Manor. He has since passed away at age 81.

Despite having been an athlete into his senior years, her father's condition deteriorated badly after he was placed in nursing home care and Dowse says she knows the reasons why.

"A health care aide at that facility spoke to me," she told CBC News. "One night, or one evening, two health care aides had to look after 44 clients. That's ridiculous. How can you give good care? How can you even give the basics?"

Links and sources
  Winnipeg families speaking out on nursing home shortages, by NUPGE, November 3, 2008
  NUPGE publication — Dignity Denied: Long-term Care and Canada's Elderly — pdf

Posted: November 10, 2008

  Health care
  Public services
  Front lines
  Voices of privatization

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