VON Hamilton nurses subject to demeaning cyber-tracking

Nurses at VON Hamilton may be wary of construction detours en route to seeing their home care patients.

The VON branch is taking employee tracking to an extreme by issuing Blackberry devices that will not only record arrival time at each “client’s” home, but also whether they have “deviated from route” on the way there.

The tracking was outlined a September 6 memo from Germaine Lee and Mimi Mitchell, managers at VON Hamilton.

Clearly management at VON Hamilton has too little to do if they intend to spend their days figuring out whether their nurses went directly to the home of the next client or deviated a few blocks to pick up a Tim’s.

It is also shockingly demeaning to professional workers to engage in this level of monitoring when a missed or late appointment is likely to result in a call from the waiting patient anyway.

The fact that their investments and management time are being spent on tracking devices for their workers is an appalling misuse of public funding and suggests poor priority decision-making.

Such tracking devices are not new to the home care agency community – one that appears intent on speeding up care rather than enhancing quality. Procura, the company VON is using for its new tracking program, boasts that 350 customer sites in Canada, the U.S. and Australia.

Procura’s website suggests their product is about enhancing quality care based on evidence, but the memo from VON Hamilton makes clear this is really just about tracking and pressuring nurses to pick up the pace.

While the new Blackberry devices have yet to arrive, workers are told to call from the home phones of their patients – not the nurses’ cell phones – at the first and last client of the day to record to the minute the time of their first and last visit. At VON workers are not paid for the time it takes to reach the first client, nor the time to go home after the last client.

When the new system is implemented, VON Hamilton nurses will be required to “enter” their arrival time and departure time at every client’s home, not just the first and last.

By monitoring the time of each care visit, it places significant pressure on the nurses to get in and out as quickly as possible, raising questions about both safety and quality of care to the patient.

The extreme tracking suggest a lack of trust in the workers, ironic given workers at VON Hamilton rallied to save the organization after management’s poor submission to the Community Care Access Centre bidding process had knocked them out of contention in 2008. It was only after the local had rallied the Hamilton community that the competition was cancelled and the VON contract extended by the CCAC.

The new devices also fly in the face of VON CEO Judith Shamian’s commitment to organizational transformation that she says will be a “much more collaborative and shared decision-making culture.

The union is appealing to VON Canada to intervene, noting the tracking is part of a deteriorating relationship between front line staff and management that urgently needs addressing.

7 responses to “VON Hamilton nurses subject to demeaning cyber-tracking

  1. Next thing will be a chip implant.

  2. Its disgusting!!! Going to visit a client and having to ask to use their phone to be babysat by our managers. Being paged repeatly to pick up more clients when you have 18 clients at times and even more assigned to you. How are we to provide the best care to our clients. I as a nurse who takes pride in my job and am very proud to be a von nurse, i do however have no respect and admiration for the current management in Hamilton. I have seen this branch deterioate rapidly over the last year. The constant remindment to call in and call out or you will not get paid! I ask is this how VON thinks of their nurses? After watching Undercover boss VON, I dont know what to beleive, is Judith Shamian really who she pretread on the show really her? or was it all smoke and mirrors??

  3. rebecca harriso

    Employees are entering into a workplace that is now becoming “nannied” by cyber technology. Policies and procedures cannot ethically keep up with implications on Human Rights. Under the guise of Clinical Mobility, I am waiting to discover just what clinical value this BlackBerry App will support best practice guidelines when front line community nurses need “in a heart beat” trusted clinical answers to provide the best possible care in their moment of need to provide safe and ethical care to their patients. Moreover, how dare an agency take control over where I steer my personal vehicle. To face the reprisals for “deviating” from our travel is a cheap method of nickel and dime-ing on the front line. Shame on the employer who hires a worker then unthreads the fibre of their personal integrity! Cyber technology has therefore become a weapon against the Collective Agreement of Unionized workplaces!

  4. watch judith Shamian on Friday night, 8pm, Undercover Boss Canada!!!

  5. These 2 sound like recruitment material for Ontario Shores management.
    Have known mental health pts thru the years suffering from delusions that computer chips had been implanted in various body parts… Maybe they weren’t ill at all, instead “visionaries” ahead of their time.
    VON (as has nursing in general) has been regarded within our communities with high esteem.
    The actions of managers like Ms. Lee and Mitchell has damaged managerial credibility and placed the perception of quality pt care at the VON in serious question.

  6. How sad it is when women oppress each other. The fact that there is no trust for nurses to drive from one patient to another without some nefarious reason to “deviate”, from the path.
    We are to call from the clients home using their phone and again when we are leaving the last clients home. But soon, we have to check in and out of each and every client. Wonder how we check in and out, if we have any bodily functions we may need to attend to? Or is this suppose to be done while in the clients home? We wouldn’t want the GPS in the blackberrys to show any “pit stops”!
    Already the front line staff pay for their own car, their own insurance, their own upkeep and with what is paid in kilometers…most of their own gas, and now be threatened further. Is it any wonder that community cannot either attract or retain workers? To have words used like, abandonment, AWOL , deviation and deployment. Sound like a wonderful place to work? And by the way, those words are commonly stated and also written to those who work for Hamilton VON.
    There is HUGE cost to working for community…both financially and definitely emotionally. Not trusted, not paid for hours worked, forced overtime, denied time off, no support, no respect and pushing the clients to need less that 30 minutes. Oh…and of course our managers now consider the 30 minutes for each client is also to include our driving to the next client….so clients need to beware winter is coming…we will need another 5 minutes to take off and put on our coats and boots….yes we will be coming to you for 15 minutes…get ready!!!!!!

    Watching Judith Shamian on Undercover Boss….come to Hamilton….maybe be an undercover worker….to assess our bosses!!!! I cannot believe that these changes are from VON Canada, but a management team who mostly have no community experience.

    Help us! We CAN again be the respected workers who had the support of this community, and once again we can say proudly…”we are VON”.


  7. Well… I do not work in Healthcare, but I can tell you with utmost certainty, I’d drop the device in my locker before I left the site. There is no way I would consider this to be humane treatment, and a complete waste of funding and resources! If there is problems with workers not performing their duties, there are processes to catch and correct this. You do NOT penalize the masses like this!

    On a side note, seems to be the same kind of messed up decision making that was taking place at the Barton Jail over the safety issues!

Leave a Reply to Sheila Cancel reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s