B.C. care aid poll finds workers are considering leaving their posts

A new poll commissioned by the BC Hospital Employees Union (HEU) finds that hundreds of care aides are considering leaving the healthcare sector due to pressures on the job.

In addition to 48.5 per cent of surveyed care aides saying they’d be likely to leave their posts within the next two years, notable data gathered by the poll shows that 82 per cent of HEU members reported being victims of some kind of violence or aggression, and 45 per cent say they have been off work because of an injury suffered in the workplace.

The union says 807 care aides were polled. The HEU represents over 60,000 healthcare workers in B.C., approximately 28,000 of whom work directly with seniors.

HEU CEO Meena Brisard tells CityNews that, on top of these issues, care aides have so much on their plates that about half also feel they don’t have the time to make sure their residents are receiving proper care.

“It really underscores what we’ve known for years … many of our frail, elderly residents don’t receive the attention that they need and that our members want to provide [for] them,” she said.

Supporting Brisard’s concern, the poll found that over half of the surveyed union members said they weren’t able to provide adequate care to residents.

“Two-thirds of our members also report that they did not have the time to comfort someone who may be confused, agitated, or afraid,” she added.

“We need to ensure that our facilities have consistent levels of staffing to make sure that there is enough time for workers to provide responsive, sensitive, and compassionate care.”

Polled members say working conditions have been taking a toll on them as well. 43 per cent of members feel their workload has gotten worse in the past two years, and 62.3 per cent are finding themselves mentally or physically exhausted by the end of most of their shifts.

In a release issued by the union Wednesday, Brisard says the province has taken “important steps” to improve the working conditions in question, but emphasizes that more needs to be done.

The HEU is calling on the province to fulfill a 2020 election promise that pledged standard wages and benefits and said the NDP would hire thousands more staff for long-term care and assisted living facilities.

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