Creemore nursing home faces cuts to frontline staff: union 0
The owners of a Creemore nursing home are making changes that the union representing staff says could negatively affect the residents at the long-term care home.
“They are getting rid of a program that sets us apart from everyone else,” said CUPE 3114 president Jodi Hawthorne; the union represents front-line employees at Leisureworld Caregiving Centre - Creedan Valley.
The union says the restorative care program is on the chopping block. The walking care aides who work in that department walk with the residents to keep their muscles moving.
“You try to keep their quality of life to the best of their ability,” said Hawthorne. “If you don't use it, you lose it.”
Hawthorne says the walking care aides did more than just one-on-one walking with the residents. They also made and sterilized the beds and transferred people to the dining room, among other tasks.
Hawthorne claims the program is being eliminated because Creedan Valley has a budget shortfall for the year.
“They have to cut costs,” said Hawthrone. “The fastest way to do that is to cut a department.”
Creedan Valley is part of a chain of long-term care facilities owned by Leisureworld. A spokesperson for the company says the the changes are a result of how care will be delivered at the nursing home.
“The shift is happening because our Creedan Valley home is moving to a primary care model,” said Lisa Egan, vice-president of communications, .
The primary care model has a primary nurse assigned to each resident, in order to provide him or her with consistent care.
Both the head office and the union say their biggest concern is the residents.
“There's no impact on resident care,” said Egan. “We are working hard to make sure there is no disruption.”
But Hawthorne says the residents will miss the program.
“It's the residents who are going to suffer. We have people who look forward to going to restorative care,” she said. “It takes away their independence, and that's not right.”
Residents won't be the only ones affected by these changes.
“There will be people (employees) who are out the door,” says Hawthorne.
However Egan said no one will lose a job.
“They will be reassigned to other roles in the home,” said Egan. “They (will be) equivalent to their roles now.”
Hawthorne says of the seven walking care aides currently working, six will be reassigned, but those reassignments will bump other employees.
“Probably four or five (workers) will be laid off,” she said. “The numbers aren't completely set yet.”
Other staff will have to make up the extra hours.
“Duties have been reassigned to other workers, but not exponentially so,” said Egan. “We have increased some hours for our personal support workers.”
Hawthorne says the staff cannot handle any extra work.
“We're constantly working short. We're exhausted mentally and physically,” she said.
While most walking care aides will be assigned as personal support workers, Hawthorne says Leisureworld consider some of the walking care aides as without the qualifications to become personal support workers.
“We have a lady who's been here 22 years. She's worked in restorative care program,” said Hawthorne. “She's a total asset to Leisureworld, yet they're ready to throw her into a housekeeping position.”
Hawthorne says the union has offered different solutions to deal with the budget issues so it won't have an impact on front-line staff who deal directly with residents.
As the employees are considered to be an essential service, they are not allowed to strike — but will be holding an information picket in the near future to make people aware of how the cutbacks will affect residents, staff, and the long-term care facility. A date for the picket has not been set.
“It's not about bashing (the company), or saying they are bad,” said Hawthorne. “It's just – these are the facts and how people will be affected. We honestly strongly believe it's a very bad decision on their part.”