Islanders respond in big way to call for long-term home help

·2 min read
In an email, the government asked if people would volunteer to work at long-term care homes because of COVID-19 staffing shortages, and particularly at The Garden Home long-term care facility, where there had been an outbreak. (Tony Davis/CBC - image credit)
In an email, the government asked if people would volunteer to work at long-term care homes because of COVID-19 staffing shortages, and particularly at The Garden Home long-term care facility, where there had been an outbreak. (Tony Davis/CBC - image credit)

The government called for volunteers to work in P.E.I.'s long-term care facilities recently — and it seems Islanders have responded.

The province is trying to reduce some stress at the homes, caused because of staffing shortages due to rising COVID-19 cases in the province.

The director of recruitment and retention with the Department of Health and Wellness said people from a variety of professions answered the call.

"We have had tremendous response from Islanders," Rebecca Gill told Island Morning, adding there had been more than 50 responses as of Wednesday.

"It's been very lovely to see Islanders stepping up and offering support in various capacities."

Many from education profession

She said around 30 of those who responded have an affiliation with the public school system.

The Department of Health and Wellness had asked some Public Schools Branch staff to provide resident care worker support amid what it called a "critical staffing shortage."

In an email sent to teachers on the Island earlier in the week, the department said it was seeking help from PSB staff willing to work as resident care workers for the next two weeks.

But the responses have come from a variety of other professionals as well.

"Anyone from substitute EAs who have capacity, nursing students and we have had retired physicians — fully-trained physicians — who are just wanting to come and offer what support they can," said Gill.

The roles people will be filling will depend on their background, and the department connects individuals with facilities to figure out what role might make sense.

Gill also said no one will be put in a position they feel uncomfortable or untrained to do.

People with no related experience may find a role, she said, but it would depend on the needs of the facility.

Facilities to determine wage

Individual facilities will also determine the wage, which will vary depending on the job.

"It's very much a conversation of understanding what their skill sets are, what the needs of the facilities are and allowing the facilities themselves to determine that appropriate match," said Gill.

Prior to the pandemic there were staffing shortages and COVID-19 has made it worse, she said.

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