The Current

Study of Health Care Aides show high job satisfaction but poor pay and burnout

Health Care Aides are on the front lines of care in Canada today. But little is known about the estimated 250,000 aides themselves.

It is estimated 50,000 Health Care Aides or "personal support workers" provide somewhere between 70 and 80 per cent of the direct needs of residents in seniors homes and elder care facilities today.

And that kind of care, is only becoming more important.

By 2036, the number of Canadians over the age of 65 is expected to double to 10.4 million. And many will need the kind of help many families and loved ones struggle to provide on their own, especially since one third of seniors over 85 will suffer from some form of age-related dementia. But surprisingly little is known about who they really are.

We headed into the classroom of instructor Chris Murash, and her students — the future health care aides, at Herzing College in Winnipeg.

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  • Carole Estabrooks has set out to change the fact that not much is really known about Health Care Aides, despite the role they already play in Canadian elder care. She's a Professor of Nursing, and the Professor & Canada Research Chair in Knowledge Translation at the University of Alberta's Faculty of Nursing. And she's the author of a new report that surveyed care aides in Alberta, Saskatchewan and Manitoba.

  • Carolyn Unsworth has more than over 30 years experience as a Health Care Aide. She's also vice president of one of the three unions in B.C. that represents care aid workers, the Hospital Employees Union.

  • Nancy Lefebre is with Saint Elizabeth, a health care provider that employs more than 3500 care aid workers across the country. She is Saint Elizabeth's Senior Vice President of Knowledge and Practice.

Are you a Personal Support Worker? Do you have thoughts to add to this discussion? Maybe you are being cared by a Health Care Aide? Get in touch.

Tweet us @thecurrentcbc. Or e-mail us through our website. Find us on Facebook. Call us toll-free at 1 877 287 7366.

This segment was produced by The Current's Sujata Berry and Josh Bloch.