Families campaign for better policies at long-term care homes
VICTORIA -- Brenda Brophy moved her 100-year-old mother, Dot, in with her on Wednesday, because she saw Dot deteriorating in long-term care during the pandemic. She’s worried the government’s recent policy changes aimed at addressing a shortage of staffing aren’t happening fast enough — especially with an election now underway.
“I couldn’t live with the alternative, which was to let her decline while I waited for changes in policy,” said Brophy Thursday while visiting with her mother in her living room, as Dot cuddled with the family dog, Lucy, on her lap.
The NDP has promised thousands of new jobs are being created in care homes to provide opportunities for those laid off in the service industry, a pledge party leader John Horgan reiterated Thursday.
“Seven thousand spaces have been created now so that we can pick up the slack in the hospitality sector,” said the NDP leader from a press conference in Maple Ridge.
But Brophy says what’s really needed is more family caregivers allowed — safely — into care homes.
She said family members are most motivated to help their loved ones, and calls the NDP hiring plan unrealistic, saying the nature of the work is something that really ought to be a calling, not the type of work one falls into if they’ve been laid off by a bar or restaurant.
Brophy also notes the new jobs involving providing actual care haven’t been created yet, and time is fleeting for people like her family.
Green Party leader Sonia Furstenau pointed Thursday to the crisis in care homes as another reason she calls the election ill-timed.
"What was needed was for government to be in place and to be moving forward with the plans and to ensure that there are enough staff and that those staff are highly trained and highly qualified," said Furstenau.
Liberal leader Andrew Wilkinson was also critical of the NDP’s plan.
"The people working in these facilities need to be appropriately trained health-care workers," said Wilkinson. "This is not a hotel. This is actually a care facility."
Brophy and other families with loved ones in care homes are rallying next Tuesday in front of the B.C. Legislature. They hope to get the attention of all the parties focused on an issue they say has been neglected, but is dear to their hearts.