Peace Villa’s waiting list continues to grow

The Situation: Due to staff shortages, the NDP Government has again refused to allow Peace Villa to accept new patients. The waiting list has now grown to approximately 100 patients.

The Problem: Northern Health acknowledges is that we have a shortage of Resident Care Aides. This is in spite of there being 15 casual, part-time, and permanent fulltime positions being open on Northern Health’s Website with RCA’s starting at $24.83 per hour.

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The Resident Care Aides are the ‘compassionate Florence Nightingales’ you and I can see doing most of the work with patients whilst Registered Nurses dispense the medications and make more critical decisions.

Whereas RNs and Licensed Practical Nurses qualify for some financial help to initially get trained, the Resident Care Aides apparently get none! This means that our community has no inducements to encourage RCAs to come into the Program or for existing RCAs in other communities to consider moving to Fort St. John.

The Solution: The NDP Government needs to put an immediate and BIG emphasis on attracting Resident Care Aides to our city. This staffing shortage, (which has gone on for years) and the problems that have resulted from it, need to end quickly. Government should consider making subsidies and/or training grants available to attract new Resident Care Aides to FSJ.

Part of the solution to making more RCAs available, will be helped by the new Resident Care Aid program that just opened at FSJ Northern Lights College. But it will take 8 months for successful RCAs to graduate. Some grads may move south or to another community.

Another part of the solution is for people who have loved ones on the Peace Villa Long Term Care waiting list, is to express their concerns by writing the Hon. Adrian Dix, who is the NDP’s Health Minister for B.C.

Email Mr. Dix at adrian.dix.MLA@leg.bc.ca or write to: Room 337 Parliament Buildings, Victoria, BC, V8V 1X4.

Perhaps another solution would be for service groups and churches in the FSJ area, who are filled with compassionate community members, to see if they have anyone who can help volunteer at the hospital, where some of these waiting patients are hospitalized, whilst awaiting admittance to Peace Villa.

Volunteering, might consist of simple things like sitting with a patient who has no family, walking or wheeling a patient around the ward, or helping a physical or mentally challenged patient eat their meal. Perhaps this might free up Resident Care Aides to nurse, shower patients and get their nursing notes done.

We need to come alongside of Northern Health and help existing staff. We also need to help family members of patients, some of whom suffer from long-term care burn out themselves. Even one hour a week of volunteer time might help make someone’s life less lonely.

— John Alexander, Fort St. John

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Email your letters to editor@ahnfsj.ca.

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