Bradford long-term care home workers demand better protection

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Employees of Bradford Valley Care Community held a demonstration outside the long-term care center on Thursday afternoon, calling on the government to provide better protection for health care workers.

Over the weekend, an outbreak of COVID-19 was reported at the Line 6 long-term care facility in Bradford.

To date, there are 14 residents and three staff members confirmed positive for the virus. The three staff members isolate themselves at home; residents isolate themselves in the establishment. None have been hospitalized to date.

The protest appears to have the support of the Ontario Health Coalition.

In a statement sent on Thursday, the coalition called for better tests, better access to personal protective equipment (PPE) and greater respect for human rights in long-term care (LTC) centers of the province.

“The coalition is deeply concerned that the new measures released by the Ontario government are not enough to stop the spread of COVID-19 in homes (LTC) that are currently neither epidemic nor sufficient to contain epidemics in existing homes and protect staff, “read the statement.

The release added that “deaths from long-term care due to COVID-19 now account for almost half of all deaths in Ontario, according to provincial infection data. Number of employees and residents testing positive increases to One Following an emergency meeting of the Ontario Health Coalition’s long-term care committee, including family councils, unions, professionals health advocates, seniors advocates and long-term care experts, the Ontario Health Coalition called for more aggressive action. implemented as soon as possible. “

Anonymous sources, who declined to be identified, said they fear masks will not be made available to workers in Bradford Valley as early as last Thursday, just before the COVID-19 cases are publicly identified.

Sienna Senior Living management for Bradford Valley Care Community, when asked about the issue, said it follows the Department of Health’s guidelines for infection prevention and control (IPAC) and occupational health and safety ( OHS), providing masks to all employees, and that they had taken precautions before hatching.

All team members now receive a surgical mask at the start of their shift; However, only members working directly with COVID-19 positive patients receive an N95 mask, said the spokesperson.

“Team members who perform procedures (such as aspiration) when treating a suspected or confirmed resident of COVID-19 are equipped with a respirator, also known as an N95 mask. We continue to follow the directives and directives issued to us “by the health units”, read a management response.

Currently, the following policies are in place at home to help contain the spread of the virus:

  • Anyone suspected of being exposed to COVID-19 is quarantined and confirmed residents of COVID-19 are isolated. These residents dine in their rooms and no longer participate in group recreational activities.
  • The team members wear surgical masks and have their temperatures taken twice per shift.
  • Twice daily temperature checks and frequent medical monitoring were implemented for all residents.
  • Physical distance is in place, where possible.
  • Frequent and rigorous cleaning of all surfaces has been introduced.
  • No non-essential visitors. There is also active screening of all essential visitors, which includes temperature controls.

It is not enough, says the Ontario Health Coalition. With 69 long-term care homes having experienced outbreaks in the province, 347 infected employees and 498 infected residents, and a total of 86 deaths to date, the coalition is calling on the provincial government to implement the following measures:

  • All personnel should receive PPE in accordance with the precautionary principle, including N95 masks for people exposed to residents suspected or confirmed of COVID-19 infection. In addition, staff must be able to access mask and PPE changes in accordance with the precautionary principle.
  • All households should receive training and support to immediately provide staff with appropriate training in the use of PPE. There are many homes that cannot do it themselves.
  • All staff, residents, volunteers, families and management who attend long-term care homes or who reside in long-term care homes should be tested. For families of residents who receive palliative care, compassionate access to a family member should be provided while awaiting test results, with appropriate additional safety precautions.
  • Deregulation of existing staffing standards and the use of outsourced, untrained and volunteer labor cannot be the answer to the long-term care staffing crisis, the coalition said – giving as an example the response in British Columbia and Quebec.

The coalition is now calling for more full-time hours in long-term care homes and nursing homes, recruiting qualified staff to improve levels of care and better wages and working conditions to stabilize the workforce. of work.

The current directive, requiring all visitors and staff to wear surgical masks (except during breaks), is inadequate, warned the coalition – calling for all staff, family, visitors and volunteers homes are tested as soon as possible. The coalition also questioned whether all long-term care homes could provide the level of isolation required by provincial standards.

“We are concerned because this is practically not possible in many long-term care homes. Some of the new homes may be able to follow this directive, but many homes simply have no way of doing so. The government must find a better solution. solution to protect residents and staff and stop the spread of COVID-19 in homes, “said the release.

Meanwhile, Bradford Valley staff carried signs and chanted “We want the N95” as they stood outside the doors. On the front line, they feel underprotected and at risk from COVID-19, and worry about the residents – the most vulnerable citizens of Bradford.



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