Monday, August 15, 2011

Short shifts & Quality Care


Short shift stories:
Question long term care midnight shift only 2 PSW (Personal Support Worker) to do care for 90 residents because of sickness or vacation 3rd time in 4 weeks ..it's stressful and unfair to PSW's and the residents...where are the policies and procedures here? 
Answer: I have worked in your situation. There is nothing fair about it. I have in the past complained and documented such shortages to my management and union w/o any result.
Another response: There is nothing more frustrating than working short-staffed. My question to you is, are you short-staffed because staff were not replaced or is it due to under-employment? The latter seems to be the cry that I hear over and over again. Unfortunately if the shortage is due to under-employment, your employer's hands are tied; you can't hire if you don't have the funding from MOHLTC. It's not as simple as asking for more $$ either. There is a process (like everything else). It all boils down to specific and adequate documentation by registered staff and PSWs alike. If your documentation does not reflect the specific needs of residents, then the MOHLTC sees this as meaning extra staff funding is not needed. Excellent documentation by all who have contact with residents is the key here. However, if your staffing situation is due to staff not being replaced, then this is a different situation altogether. Documentation though is still key! Have you spoken with the facility administration, DOC, etc.? Usually under policies, there is documentation to state the compliment (# of registered and non-registered staff) per shift, including statutory holidays. Vacation time is usually not covered specifically by policy although coverage is coverage. I can empathize with you completely! Been there, done that, as the saying goes. Just document the shifts you are short-staffed and also document any contact with administration. At least you are covering yourself which is important too. Good luck.

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