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Workers hold rally over staffing of long-term care facilities

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Care workers held at rally at the Manitoba Legislature over the lunch hour on Tuesday over staffing issues.

RUTH BONNEVILLE / WINNIPEG FREE PRESS Enlarge Image

Care workers held at rally at the Manitoba Legislature over the lunch hour on Tuesday over staffing issues. Photo Store

Nursing home workers claim that inadequate staffing is causing staff burnout and affecting client care.

Representatives of several unions representing long-term care workers gathered outside the Legislative Building over the noon hour to protest what they say is a growing problem.

Increasingly, they say, units are left to work short-staffed when employees call in sick.

"So people are not being toileted on time. People maybe are not getting up for breakfast on time. And the girls are always running to play catch up," said Terry Rear, a scheduling clerk and former health-care aide at Fred Douglas Lodge.

Union officials said the issue has been percolating for some time but has grown worse in recent months.

Health Minister Erin Selby said Manitoba has some of the best long-term care staffing standards in the country. The provincial standard is that patients receive 3.6 hours of care per patient per day, and on average facilities provide 3.75 hours in Manitoba, she said.

"And if that’s not happening, I want to hear about it because we do provide funding to allow for that level of care and that level of staffing," the new health minister said.

Close to 100 union workers and leaders participated in the rally. Most unionized long-term care workers are represented by either the Canadian Union of Public Employees or the Manitoba Government and General Employees Union.

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