The Ontario North East Local Health Integration Network (NE-LHIN) is one of the largest of 14 LHINs in Ontario, responsible for planning, integrating and funding health care services for more than 565,000 people across 400,000 square Kilometers (Ministry of Health and LongTerm Care, 2015)
In the past decade, NE-LHIN Long Term Care (LTC) Homes waiting list has grown exponentially as a result of significant progress towards improving the health of Ontarians, who are now living longer and with better access to a wide range of healthcare services(Patients first MOHLTC, 2015). According to Health Quality Ontario (2014); by 2030 seniors will number over 9.5 million and make up 23 percent of Canadians.
With a rapidly aging population, which means an increase in the number of people living with one or more chronic conditions and a growing need and demand for services provided in the LTC settings, NE-LHIN LTC Homes are facing drastic changes in their residents’ population needs in terms of more complex physical and behavioral care that demands special clinical skills workforce.
NE-LHIN LTC homes are suffering from shortage of Personal Support Workers (PSW). With 30% of workforce above 50 years of age (Health Data Branch of the MOHLTC, 2012) and getting more physically demanding workload in the healthcare system (Health Quality Ontario 2016), NE-LHIN long term care homes are currently experiencing PSW shortage.
To meet the current and future Health Workforce needs of NE-LHIN LTC Homes the environmental scan highlighted that improvement measures are required within following themes: Training/Education; Promotion and Recruitment; Working conditions; and the Policy/Regulation environment.
Environmental scanning identified two priority areas that are impacting directly PSW workforce supply: Total Compensation, and Collaboration and Innovation.
A regional PSW Workforce Steering Committee needs to be established in comprised up of multiple partners – including frontline PSWs, public health care providers, service provider organizations, educational sector, employment organizations, advocacy agencies, and researchers to oversee the implementation of the plan.