Employees of long-term care across Nova Scotia rallied on Tuesday to demand government support.
Continuing care assistants (CCA) working in the long-term care sector say they are burned out, oftentimes working short-staffed and having to work multiple jobs due to low wages.
Paul Andrew Daley, who has worked as a CCA for the past 28 years, says he sits in his van before every shift and has to mentally prepare himself for what he is about to endure for the day.
“I’m burned out. I can’t do it anymore. I can’t say that I love being a CCA anymore because I don’t,” he said as he rallied outside of the long-term care home where he works.
Daley believes the residents do not receive the care they deserve due to employees being so understaffed. He told Global News that the average employee lasts less than five years working as CCA.
“We go through people so fast, I can’t remember their names. This is the reality we’re dealing with. You’ve got to improve the working conditions and the wages so we can recruit and keep people in the job. The government needs to act and this is the government and people don’t realize these employers don’t control the wages they don’t control the staffing ratios, it’s all controlled by the government.” he said.
On Nov. 1, Barbara Adams, minister of seniors and long-term care, announced a $1.7-million investment to recruit and retain more staff in the continuing care sector.
“We were hoping that they would have immediate action on this file when they first came to office, because they said health care was their number one priority and so far, all they’ve done is have a couple of photo ops and a couple of press conferences,” said Daley
Minister Adams said she appreciates the hard work health-care workers put in and understands the strain in the long-term care sector due to the COVD-19 pandemic. She says the department of long-term care was specifically developed to focus on issues and needs of long-term care workers.
“There are several initiatives that we’ve brought in including the recruiters as well as clinical nurse practitioners for long-term care and there are a number of initiatives that we’re going to be announcing next week.”