Brother Sid Hall, CUPE 5430 Region One, speaks out on the challenges of Long Term Care and being a frontline worker.
Regina / 980 CJME
June 23, 2020 07:46 am
Thirteen years ago, when Sidney Hall started working as a continuing care aid, he enjoyed going to work and could joke with the residents.
Now they often don’t get the care they deserve.
“Unfortunately, there is no joviality anymore. Sometimes you can have a laugh and joke but it’s mainly rushing. And it’s sad. From when I started to what I see now, it is a sad business,” said Hall.
In the first part of our series Help Wanted: Seniors’ Care in Saskatchewan, we heard from a woman whose parents were in care. She told of the incidents they had to deal with — trashed hearing aids, mixed-up medication, long waits for care — all, she believed, because of a shortage of staff.
Hall agrees that short-staffing is a big problem in long-term care in Saskatchewan, but also across Canada. He said when he started this work, staffing levels were all right, but since then the level of care residents need has increased a lot and staffing hasn’t increased with it.
Hall explained that for someone who needs Level 1 care, in the morning he might only need to go in and wake them up and make sure they have everything to get ready for the day. Then the resident can continue on themselves.
But now people in levels 1, 2, and sometimes 3 will stay at home with home care and those in higher-level 3 and 4 are the ones going into long-term care.
Individuals in Level 4 need the most help as they often can’t do much themselves.
“Every person you go into needs a level of care and a full level, and that means using a sling, the head-to-toe assessments, the changing, the washing, everything,” said Hall.
And, Hall explained, with all the residents needing so much help, schedules are tighter and there’s less time to spread around. He said staff members are constantly rushing to get everything done.
“It’s like working on a conveyor belt. It’s horrible to say it that way,” admitted Hall.
People will often come to help with their family member’s care — for things like feeding — and Hall said that’s a godsend because it allows the workers to give that time to someone else.
Hall said there is high turnover for care aids and workers in long-term care because it’s a taxing job. It’s physically difficult but also mentally. He said it’s tough when you get attached to people and want to give them better care, but you can’t.
“When you want to give the care they deserve, it’s hard and it’s sad,” Hall said.
Hall often used the word “sad” to describe the situation in long-term care, for both workers and residents.
He said more funding to hire staff would be a fix for the issue, but it doesn’t seem like anyone wants to put the money in.
“I can assure you, every one of us is going to get old, every one of us wants to be treated with dignity. So sooner or later, someone is going to have to look at the facilities,” Hall said.