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Dysfunction in long-term care takes toll on overburdened workforce: association

Last Updated May 28, 2020 at 3:08 pm EDT

A man looks out the window at the Camilla Care Community centre overlooking crosses marking the deaths of multiple people that occured during the COVID-19 pandemic in Mississauga, Ont., on Tuesday, May 26, 2020. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Nathan Denette

OTTAWA — The head of the Canadian Support Workers Association says conditions in long-term care are “breaking” the people who staff nursing and retirement, leading to worse care for the vulnerable seniors who live there.

Miranda Ferrier says she read the military reports about cases of abuse and neglect in Ontario and Quebec long-term care homes with the same disgust and anger as other Canadians.

While she says there’s no excuse for that behaviour, there are reasons for it.

Many people have pointed the finger at support workers for the conditions in the homes but Ferrier says the workers are also victims of that broken system, and have been for a long time.

The profession is completely unregulated, workers are underpaid and typically underprepared for the huge workload, risks and mental and physical exhaustion associated with the job.

She says the association has been trying to shine a light on this for years, and has called for those workers to be licensed, regulated and accredited as a step toward fixing long-term care.

This report by The Canadian Press was first published May 28, 2020.

Ottawa;Ontario;Canada, The Canadian Press