To the editor,
I have read with impending doom about a possible strike at both Shiretown Nursing Home in Pictou and Ivey’s Terrace in Trenton.
My mother has been a resident of Ivey’s Terrace since February 2012 and before that of the old Shiretown building. Mom is blind, has difficulty hearing, very limited language skills and is unable to walk since she fell in July. She received a hip replacement in August. She is 87 years old, unable to wash and dress herself, she cannot go to the bathroom or dining room unassisted, she requires help to get out of bed in the mornings and into bed when she becomes tired or goes down for the night.
I absolutely hate the thought of a strike and how it would affect elderly loved ones, however, I understand the frustration the staff of these residences are experiencing. These two buildings are beautiful but they are understaffed and under-equipped for the care of the clients. I am at Ivey’s Terrace two to three times a week. I have seen the staff helping in one room and two more rooms are requesting assistance. One or two people cannot answer three or four red lights at the same time. In the case of my mother, two people are required to assist her in all tasks requiring movement. Sometimes this means calling for someone from another pod.
On one occasion I brought Mom back after a hospital appointment. We had to sit in the car until the staff could locate a wheelchair to bring Mom to her room. For heaven’s sake, a lack of wheelchairs? I have seen clients wait 10 minutes or more before they can get to the bathroom. It is not the fault of staff, it is the shortage of staff. I have written to their head office and received nothing in reply.
So now head office has decided to cut their pay by making full-time jobs into part-time, thus eliminating employee benefits. Not right, not fair to staff or the people putting money into the MacLeod Group bank account. Leave the full staff as they are and hire more part-time staff. It seems head office is more concerned with their profit line than with the responsible care of the human beings in their residences. These are our loved ones, they are not barnyard animals.
In the event of a strike, who is responsible for the clients’ well-being? Who takes responsibility for a client injured in a fall trying to get to the bathroom unassisted? Who takes responsibility if a client is having a medical emergency in bed and no one is able to answer the call at that time? These are elderly, helpless people paying for and trusting that they receive the care they need. What happens to the clients who do not have family nearby? Who takes the responsibility when a client is injured or dies during a strike?
Again, I hate thoughts of a strike but I support the workers. They are the ones looking after Mom.
Rosemary de Best