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Newsletter - August 2008
By: Rick O’Connell, Steward and Bargaining Committee Member
Last Updated: August 5, 2008

Dear Sisters and Brothers:

I am writing this letter with great frustration with the health care system.  I have worked in the health care system for eight years now and when I started, I had a vision of how I was going to change peoples’ lives. 

Eight years later and I have a much different outlook on things and how I can change things.  Let’s start with the many obstacles that I and all health care workers face every single day when we report to work.  My day starts a 7:00 a.m. and I must have all my residents in the dining room by 8:30 a.m., due to Ministry standards and pressure from bosses to be on time. 

I have been told on more than one occasion that if the residents are not there on time, my co-workers or me would be disciplined.  So that doesn’t leave much time to provide care, so when we enter a room, it is like a fireman in a burning house and we have to be organized, which means most times the resident is rushed through their care.  Residents then become frustrated and many times strike out with physical or verbal abuse.  The other day I was hit twice in 10 minutes by two different residents.

The time pressure gets worse when we are working short-staffed and the same amount of work still needs to be done.  Sometimes your work load doubles and you have to cut corners.  You walk away at the end of your shift knowing you did not provide good care or even dignity.

The low levels of staffing and high sick calls are directly related to the way management treats us, and burn-out from giving 100% everyday, but only having a half a tank.

Let’s face it – people are getting out of health care because of pressure, low wages, treatment, over-work and physical and verbal abuse.

I have to admit that after eight years, I want out and I’m trying to get out.  The baby-boomers are just starting to enter long-term care and it will only get worse, until it’s too late to fix it and our elderly are forced to live in conditions much like a third-world country.

So I end this with two questions for everyone who reads this:

  1. Do you want the people you love rushed every day of their lives?
  2. Do you want your loved ones living in a place very similar to a puppy mill? 

Then don’t vote for anyone who doesn’t support the Minimum Standards Act of 3.5 hours per day of care.

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