THE COVID-19 PANDEMIC has made it clear the disparity of care for residents in long-term care compared to that in hospitals. An indicator of that disparity is the fact that 80 per cent of COVID-19 deaths have been in long-term care homes so far.
The reduced long-term care is not for lack of dedication by workers but for political reasons. Barb Nederpel, President of Hospital Employees’ Union, told me:
“The pandemic has brought the problems in how we treat seniors and those who care for them into sharp focus. Twenty years ago, workers in long-term care earned the same wages and benefits regardless of their employer.
“Through privatization and contracting out, the BC Liberals forced thousands of these workers into lower paid jobs. Many took second or third jobs to make ends meet. To keep seniors and workers safe during the pandemic, public health officials are limiting workers to single sites and we’ve secured agreement from government to increase those wages back to the industry standard.”
David Charbonneau is a retired TRU electronics instructor who hosts a blog at http://www.eyeviewkamloops.wordpress.com.