Letter to the Premier - Brett Berger, CCA (May, 2020)
Dear Honourable Premier Moe,
I am unsure if you are aware that CCAs in long term care, in many facilities, are working everyday with staff shortages, some are planned and some are unplanned. CCAs play an important role in providing quality of life to our seniors who are residents.
We provide personal care (this includes getting people up, bathing residents, personal hygiene needs, feeding assists & so many other care tasks) and most of the time we are rushed to do so, not because we want to get it done quickly, but because our help is continuously needed by others in wait.
In some circumstances, we are unable to attend to all of our residents. Did you know that we have CCAs who are required to work alone (for portions of a shift) to provide care in some instances? This is unsafe when it comes to Transfer, Lift and Reposition of residents. We also work alone on our night shifts. This is unacceptable! For some reason, the SHA has approved this.
How come we are alone while having the responsibility to take care of others? What if something happens to us, who helps us? Who helps those people if no one knows something happened to us? What if we can’t call for help in some kind of emergency situation? Unpredictability is always an ongoing concern in our line of work; some residents become agitated and can become violent. This is not a “Zero tolerance” workplace for hazards that have the potential to occur. Where is the OH and S priority and why is there no oversight to ensure that safe care is the priority?
You should also know that we now have cooking and cleaning added to our job duties. This is not because we have spare time to do these extra duties. And we have never received a pay grade upgrade for the added duties. This is simply so that the employer can eliminate the jobs that previously provided support in the care environment...and it was done to save money.
The health facility planning involved our positions providing personal care, and we are expected to cook the food ”restaurant style” with multiple different kinds of meals for people if they do not wish to eat the meal selected for us to cook and serve to the whole house. We also are responsible to take into account the different diets and textures; as well we are expected to provide at a temperature regulated rate. This is beyond stressful and not always realistic but that's just how that goes.
We need higher wages and we need more staff. We need to make sure transfers & lifts are always involving two persons. You need to fund long term care like you care about our seniors who are residents and bring more staff on the floor to improve their quality of life. We also need our support staff positions returned so that we have cooks, food service workers and environmental services workers. We are over-worked and underpaid; our residents need more time spent with them, not less. We need you to fix our underfunding crisis.
Finally, we have had no contract for 4 years - it's time to use your authority to ensure that we receive a fair offer from SAHO so that we can get an increase from our 2016 rates of pay.
Make this a priority. Our residents and my co-workers cannot wait any longer.