By Letter to the Editor on June 30, 2020.
During his June 25 broadcast to Canadians, Prime Minister Trudeau acknowledged that long-term care for Canadians ranks near the bottom of the 36 OECD nations.
COVID-19 fatality statistics consistently conclude that elderly residents in long-term care facilities represent an alarming share of deaths.
But why are Canadian long-term care facilities outperformed by most of our OECD partners? The situation has been so desperate in two provinces, Quebec and Ontario, that they have reached out to hundreds of Canadian Forces personnel to provide care for seniors. While Alberta has not yet reached out to the Canadian Forces, conditions in our long-term care facilities are nevethless dire. Here are five suggestions you may wish to consider.
1. There is abundant evidence that one of the weaknesses in the Canadian system is a shortage of trained long-term care workers.
2. Workers need both protective equipment and protection from aggresive clients.
3. Care workers must be provided with a living wage so there is no need for them to work at multiple sites, as this increases the risk of COVID-19 contamination.
4. As in all work environments, long-term care workers must be provided with adequate training.
5. As many of the operational issues in long-term care appear to be related to the need for private corporations to maximize profits, a review of long-term care in Alberta should include a review of the Alberta ownership model.
Robert D. Tarleck
President, Nord-Bridge Seniors Centre
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