NEWMARKET, ONTARIO--(Marketwired - March 31, 2014) - As seniors and the disabled brace themselves for a change in caregivers at York Region homes, starting April 1, residents and their families are questioning why the government is 'fixing' something that is not broken, said the union representing 90 displaced long-term care workers.
"While we are all happy and relieved that residents will continue to receive 24/7 care, the seniors, disabled and their families are worried and questioning why the current caregivers are being replaced by an agency unknown to them, and more importantly, unfamiliar with the residents' needs," said Doug Sheppard, spokesperson for Local 905 of the Canadian Union of Public Employees (CUPE). "Some of our members have been caring for residents for over 20 years and the residents cannot understand why these caregivers are being replaced."
The provincial government's decision to not fund the Alternative Community Living Centres (ACL) program and change the care delivery model for seniors seeking care and assistance initially led to a switch from the current ACL workers who provide continuous on-site care in the seven York Region homes, to a hub-and-spoke model care service provided by an off-site mobile care unit, with a minimum 15 minutes wait protocol. In response, the community came together and rallied the government to reverse their decision and provide continuous care. However, resident care will now be provided by an outside agency.
"Why fix something that is not broken?" asks Maureen McDermott-Cargill, whose mother lives in one of the York Region homes. "My mother has developed a very close relationship with her ACL worker. She does not deal well with strangers in her home and her health has deteriorated due to the stress of the proposed change. Seniors should not have to worry about such things."
"Instead of continuous care and continuity of service by workers who've been with the residents for years - the workers are being replaced by an agency that was contracted to provide mobile care," continued Sheppard. "These important decisions that impact residents and workers' lives are being made bureaucratically and randomly, without properly thinking of how this would impact the very people that we are suppose to take care of."
One of the affected residents is Joe Pearson, who is blind and disabled and lives at Keswick Gardens. "My caregivers are like my second family, they know me and how to look after me and I am very comfortable with them, now they are being taken away," said Pearson. "What I need is continuity of care and we are asking the decision makers to reverse their decisions."
"Keep the ACL workers where they are," said McDermott-Cargill. "I don't know why this decision was made, but it was made without thinking about the effects on the elderly and the disabled. Do the right thing and put it back where it was in the first place."