B.C. Health Minister Adrian Dix and provincial health officer Dr. Bonnie Henry update the effort to contain COVID-19, B.C. legislature, April 29, 2020. (B.C. government)

COVID-19: B.C. halfway to goal of single-site jobs for care home staff

Including mental health facilities, 7,350 were working multiple sites

B.C.’s health ministry, employers and unions are past the half-way point of a massive staff reorganization that ends part-time work for senior care aides at multiple sites, Health Minister Adrian Dix says.

Staff movement has been a source of infection outbreaks in the COVID-19 pandemic, with the earliest and deadliest senior home outbreaks in North Vancouver and Vancouver traced to part-time employees. Dix announced April 9 that the policy would be imposed province-wide, with an estimated payroll cost of $10 million a month to provide stable employment for care aides.

Dix reported April 30 that the half-way point has been reached, for a task that has reached beyond senior care homes. He said it involves 45,000 employees at long-term care, assisted living, private hospitals and mental health facilities.

“Of those 45,000 employees, there are or were 7,350 employees who had jobs at multiple facilities,” Dix said, adding that there are 545 facilities that host multi-facility employees in all of B.C.’s regional health authorities.

So far 276 of those facilities have implemented their “single-site plan” for employees, Dix said, 43 in Interior Health, 40 in Fraser Health, 103 in Vancouver Coastal Health, 64 in Island Health and 26 in Northern Health.

Quebec has followed B.C.’s lead in stabilizing staff after a crisis in senior care homes, with novel coronavirus infections in more than 500 of them and some abandoned by staff. Canadian Armed Forces personnel have been called in to do cleaning and other jobs at Quebec care facilities.

RELATED: Hints of broadening social circles as COVID-19 declines

RELATED: Poison control sees spike in disinfectant exposure calls

Doctors, nurses, pharmacists and lab technicians continue to be allowed to work in multiple facilities, which have increased cleaning and sharply restricted visitors to prevent further infections among high-risk residents and patients.

Dix and Seniors Advocate Isobel Mackenzie have pushed for improved working conditions for care aides, where there was a chronic shortage of skilled help before the coronavirus pandemic.

In B.C., the changes are being made “within the existing blended service delivery model of health-authority owned and operated, affiliates and private providers,” accommodating employee preferences in where they work as far as possible, Dix said April 9. “And it ensures that all of them receive an equitable wage and scheduling stability so they can work at a single site without financial hardship or patient service disruption.”


@tomfletcherbc
tfletcher@blackpress.ca

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter.

BC legislatureCoronavirus

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

‘Busier than we’ve ever seen’: Mountain biking around Terrace jumps

Terrace Off Road Cycling Association opened new trails on June 2

City of Terrace considers reopening playgrounds, day camps

Sportsplex and aquatic centre likely to remain closed through summer

District of Stewart receives funding for food security

Stewart is one of 54 B.C. municipalities to split $1.4 million

Scientists produce extensive map of Tseax Volcano, lava flow

Volcano had been studied previously, but never in such detail

22 new COVID-19 test-positives, one death following days of low case counts in B.C.

Health officials urged British Columbians to ‘stand together while staying apart’

Facing changes together: your community, your journalists

The COVID-19 pandemic has changed the world in ways that would have… Continue reading

Seniors to receive up to $500 in promised COVID-19 emergency aid in early July

The Liberal government first promised the extra help in mid-May, but had to create a new system to deliver the aid

VIDEO: Revelstoke bear wanders into Animal House pet store

Staff got ready to chase it out with a broom

New study is first full list of species that only exist in Canada

Almost 40 per cent of them are critically imperilled or imperilled and eight are already extinct

Introducing the West Coast Traveller: A voyage of the mind

Top armchair travel content for Alaska, Yukon, BC, Alberta, Washington, Oregon and California!

Federal aid for care home systems needed ahead of second wave, advocates say

Ontario Long Term Care Association calling for more action

Tlaoquiaht First Nation woman, 26, fatally shot by police in Edmundston, N.B.

Police were conducting a well-being check at the time of the incident

Most Read