B.C. Nursing Homes Face Staffing Shortages As COVID-19 Vaccine Deadline Passes

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Victoria –

For those living in a long-term care home or assisted living facility in British Columbia, staff shortages are neither new nor welcome, but they could worsen as nearly 2,000 workers in these industries are in employment. unemployment because they are not vaccinated against COVID-19.

Dr Bonnie Henry has issued a public health order requiring staff at homes for the aged be immunized or, potentially, unemployed with a deadline of October 12.

In a briefing, Health Minister Adrian Dix said of more than 48,000 workers, 1,996 had not been vaccinated, adding that many were casual workers. He also tried to reassure residents and their loved ones that care would not be compromised.

“The province is working with health authorities and operators on a case-by-case basis to ensure that if workers do not make the decision to be vaccinated, contingency plans are in place to ensure that residents continue to receive the drugs. care they need, ”said Dix.

Terry Lake of the BC Care Providers Association likened the system to epidemic protocols, where health officials would replace home staff.

However, a care operator raises concerns.

Hendrik Van Ryk, vice president of human resources at H and H Total Care Services, which operates several homes in British Columbia under the name “The Hamlets”, said the company was losing 20 employees and 14 full-time. He said he contacted several health authorities and was told they did not have the resources to help.

“It puts a lot of stress on our vaccinated staff and it is not sustainable,” Van Ryk added.

Workers who are not vaccinated will be suspended without pay and will have time to be vaccinated. If they don’t comply with the vaccination mandate, Dix said, the consequences could be more serious.

“If a worker in long-term care or assisted living refuses to be vaccinated, they will be subject to progressive discipline up to and including termination,” said Dix

While there are concerns about the impact on already overworked staff in an industry that has experienced shortages for years, Lake said for the most part, the worst fears have not materialized.

Visitors to senior residences must also prove they have at least one injection – later this month. Anyone working or volunteering in acute or community care should also be vaccinated. Lake thinks it’s a good thing.

“At the end of the day some people will choose not to get the vaccine and I would say healthcare is not the right profession for them.”

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