The government gives, the home care agencies take away.
Many of OPSEU’s home care agencies are presently at the bargaining table.
You’d think this would be the best of times for the professional and support staff that conducts the often difficult work of caring for Ontario’s homebound frail and elderly. Retaining this group of workers is also important to government bean counters who can add up the cost of lengthy stays in hospital by alternative level of care patients waiting for home care access.
Clearly of all sectors, home care has also become central to the government’s strategy to migrate services into the community.
So why can’t they get it right?
Ontario did recognize there is a significant problem with recruitment and retention in home care, taking what appeared to be a bold step towards increasing specific funding for the sector’s personal support workers (PSWs). PSWs delivered 72.3 per cent of all home care visits in 2012/13 and that percentage is growing as visits by licensed health professionals (nurses, dietitians, social workers and therapists) have been in decline over the past decade.
As we noted yesterday, the turnover is so high among home care PSWs that often the entire staff of an agency can change in less than two years.