PEI

Long-term care facilities need more staff, Opposition says

The leader of the Official Opposition is calling on the P.E.I. government to increase staffing in long-term and community care facilities.

Health minister says government will try to identify gaps and help seniors

Green Party Leader Peter Bevan-Baker says he wants government to establish staff-to-patient ratios. (GagliardiPhotogra/Shutterstock)

The leader of the Official Opposition is calling on the P.E.I. government to increase staffing in long-term and community care facilities.

Peter Bevan-Baker raised the issue in the legislature Wednesday. He said low staffing levels have been a problem at long-term care facilities across the province for years, and wants to see government establish and implement staff-to-patient ratios. 

He said low staffing can cause high turnover rates and affect the care of residents.

"Staff are overworked and underpaid  — what we need is more staff, paid decent wages," he said.

We have to look at where the gaps may be, where we can improve upon.— Health Minister Ernie Hudson

"Will this government mandate minimum staff-to-patient ratios or a minimum number of hours of personal care per resident to ensure that Island seniors live out their lives in dignity and safety?"

3.8 hours of care per day

The province does have a policy in place that each long-term care resident should receive 3.8 hours of care per day.

But the Opposition says facilities aren't meeting that threshold, and it's too low to begin with.

There was some talk around long-term care staffing in the throne speech.

Health and Wellness Minister Ernie Hudson said nurse practitioners would be required on staff at private long-term care homes.

"I think as we move forward, yes we have to look at where the gaps may be, where we can improve upon and move onward from there because as I said yesterday Mr. Speaker, there's probably no demographic in our population that ... we should be providing the support to than our seniors."

More from CBC P.E.I.

With files from Kerry Campbell

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