A good policy, but staffing is a problem
FADOQ welcomes the new policy on long-term care homes presented today by the Quebec government, but questions the capacity for implementation with an insufficient workforce.
The country’s largest seniors’ organization believes that the draft policy has good guiding principles and an appropriate focus —residents—which in itself represents a major advance.
“The patient/resident must be at the center of decisions regarding the development of their care plan. Their well-being must be the focus of staff and administration. This approach is essential,” says Réseau FADOQ president Gisèle Tassé-Goodman.
The understaffing issue
However, Réseau FADOQ believes that the lack of care staff is a major obstacle to achieving the policy’s ambitious objectives.
“We hope that the ministerial action plan, which is set to be tabled by the fall, will answer our questions on this subject,” says Ms. Tassé-Goodman.
As pointed out in a report of the Institut national d’excellence en santé et en services sociaux (INESSS) last September, the lack of health care personnel is currently the source of many tensions and shortcomings in the health care network. These deficiencies often result in organizational abuse of seniors.
“Addressing the workforce shortage will promote good care, provide greater stability in work teams, allow for reorganization of work, and reduce burnout,” explains Ms. Tassé-Goodman.
FADOQ recognizes that the Legault government has taken actions that are having a positive impact on staffing shortages, including the training and permanent hiring of orderlies and investments to increase medical student enrolment.
The expansion of professional acts that can be performed by pharmacists, specialized nurse practitioners and dental hygienists is also positive. Réseau FADOQ favours an even greater decompartmentalization of health care professions. In the long term, this will make it possible to redefine the roles and tasks of the Québec health system’s various stakeholders more broadly.
Last, although an agreement has been reached between the Fédération interprofessionnelle de la santé (FIQ) and the Québec government to change caregiving staff ratios in CHSLDs, it does not cover assisted living or institutions outside CHSLDs, notably geriatric units. For the well-being of all Quebecers, it is important that the ratio of health care personnel to patients be improved throughout the health care system.
The Réseau FADOQ will follow the evolution of this file closely.