We need help: Home care in Ontario – the lynchpin of the health system – faces a staffing crisis

Elizabeth Payne, The Ottawa Citizen

Thousands of nurses have left jobs providing home care during the pandemic for better-paid work in public health, hospitals and long-term care homes. The result is a crisis that home care officials warn could jeopardize the province’s entire health system. “We need help. We are in a crisis,” said Sue VanderBent, CEO of Home Care Ontario, which represents most home care providers in Ontario. During the pandemic, money was poured into long-term care and hospitals to help retain and increase staffing. Many of those workers came from home care, which has received no additional support from the province during the pandemic, said VanderBent. Home care officials say it is not surprising workers are opting to go elsewhere where they can earn between $6 to $15 more an hour. But the funding in home care has not kept up. Home Care Ontario says additional funding is needed urgently to keep the crucial home care system running so hospitals can begin catching up on surgeries and people in need of care can get it.

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