CUPE Nova Scotia is calling on the McNeil government to immediately increase funding to all publicly-funded long-term care facilities, so they reach a minimum staff funding of 4.1 hours of care per resident each day.
“Many of our members are telling us that, on average, they have less than ten minutes to get each resident ready for the day,” says Louise Riley, chair of the CUPE NS Long Term Care Coordinating Committee. “Let that sink in. Ten minutes or less. How many able-bodied adults do you know that can get themselves ready for the day in that amount of time?”
CUPE is specifically calling for an immediate staffing increase, supported by new funding to the health authority that includes:
- Recruitment of more continuing care assistants, and other members of the care team
- Reinstatement of the financial support for CCA program students at a Nova Scotia public institution (cancelled in 2013) and a new financial support program of grants for study.
- Accountability requirements to ensure new funding is directly applied to care
- Standardization of the calculation, collection, and reporting of staffing levels
- Standardization of violence prevention and health and safety programs, including training across employers
CUPE Nova Scotia President Nan McFadgen points out that better financial support is needed to encourage people to take the CCA training program. “Tuition fees are almost $7,000 to take the continuing care course and that doesn’t cover living expenses. Many people who would like to work in this field – mostly women – simply can’t afford that.”
“We met with Minister of Labour Relations Mark Furey in July, asking his government to partner with the union on a recruitment and retention strategy for long-term care and home care, but we’ve heard nothing from the minister since then,” says McFadgen.
“To Premier McNeil, Minister Delorey and Minister Furey I would say ‘We are holding you responsible for this crisis. We need solutions and we need them now,” says McFadgen.
“This crisis is a direct result of budget cuts made by politicians who do not value the well-being and contributions of our seniors,” says Riley. “We shouldn’t have to fight for better working conditions, and we shouldn’t have to fight to improve long-term care.
“Quality long-term care should be the right of every Nova Scotian.”
CUPE represents approximately 4,000 members working in 49 long-term care homes across Nova Scotia.