The impact of COVID-19 along with the existing understaffing issues in Ontario’s long-term homes has been more than overwhelming, especially for healthcare workers. We have seen in the past year till now, the relentless and tireless sacrifice of healthcare staff working around the clock to try to accommodate for this lack and save lives, but it’s not enough. On the contrary, the need keeps arising because of the effect of the virus and now the new variants. To say the effects of the virus has been great for healthcare staff – first responders to the virus – is an understatement. The effects have contributed continuously to the understaffing issues Ontario is still facing. Healthcare workers continue to face pressure daily because of the extra workload leading to exhaustion and reduced effectiveness of the staff. The uncertainty of these issues are enormous for all healthcare institutions and has led many long-term care homes to seriously consider emergency staffing measures.
Why long-term care homes are turning to staffing agencies
Staffing of healthcare facilities can be challenging in the best of circumstances. Throw in shortages in the workforce and a pandemic to top it off, and you have yourself a very difficult working environment, to say the least. The remote areas of our province are in desperate need for healthcare help from fellow practitioners. Nursing in remote areas is undeniably demanding; however, it also offers great potential for personal and professional growth and a forever-rewarding experience. Access to healthcare is not at all fair or simple for those who reside in the most obscure corners of our province. It is in our hands to ensure adequate and equitable healthcare is available for all Canadians, rather than for just our immediate neighbours. For this to happen, the shortage in healthcare practitioners across the province must first be identified and addressed through strategic staffing models that fails not to protect from the exploitation of our front-line workers. In their desperate need, provinces are finding motivating ways to recruit and preserve the country’s most equipped healthcare personnel, including the use of incentives and staffing agencies, as they continue dealing with the unique situations that remote healthcare brings.
Staffing can be an exhausting, time-consuming and expensive process that seems to need a science of perfect variables to be successful – who should I hire? When is the best time to hire? How do I know this is the right hire? The difficulties in these processes are often amplified in the healthcare industry and more specifically for long term care (LTC) homes where resources are not always abundant and reliability is essential. Fortunately, staffing agencies are here to alleviate some of the frustration and confusion, but even then – which agency is best?
We have gathered the answers to some of the industry’s most important considerations about healthcare staffing to provide clarity relevant to you and your facility.
Our nation is facing shortages of all kinds during these unprecedented times. Here, we share our thoughts with our readers about the significance of personal support workers in the healthcare sector and how long-term care homes can navigate staffing challenges in the face of extreme worker shortage.
Long term care facilities are, or have been, a home for many of our grandparents, our parents, our friends and our partners. For them, moving to a care facility means calling a new place home. For us, it means trusting strangers to take care of our dearest loved ones. For those reasons, these facilities must be staffed with healthcare teams that can properly provide for the needs of their residents and who care to provide the quality support we all hope for.
Canada’s story of long-term care extends back decades before our time, giving health professionals today a great deal of information to sift through and understand. We have done some of the grunt work by collecting information from trusted colleagues and authorities in the health industry to provide our readers with the most important pieces worth considering when staffing long term care facilities.