Employees of Parksville’s Stanford Place senior care centre and their supporters were back on the street Wednesday afternoon, Aug. 30 to once again voice their concerns about short-staffing and benefits.
The employees stood alongside the street in front of the centre, holding signs to protest the lack of movement on grievances submitted to Vancouver-based Retirement Concepts.
The employees held a similar protest on June 5 to protest short-staffing, withholding of back pay and other issues with working conditions.
John De Medeiros, chair of the HEU board at Stanford Place said employees and supporters were rallying again because there had been no changes made to address their concerns. He said the issues remain short-staffing and the inability to keep staff because of poor compensation.
“The summer has been horrible,” he said. “We’ve had multiple vacancies, well over 20 at times.”
“It’s affecting the care workers, it’s affecting the residents and their families, and we are just basically fed up and tired. We need this company to do more.”
He said the short staffing has meant units that usually have seven or eight clients to each staff member have had to make due with 14 or 15 clients to each staff member.
“It’s an impossibility to perform those tasks — bathing, the basic, simple necessities of care, dressing, all that stuff,” he said.
“There is a lot of short staffing, we know, all over the different VIHA facilities, but never to the extent here. This is severe, critical short-staffing, and it’s having a direct affect on patient care.”
Part of the short-staffing issue is the low wages and poor benefits offered at Stanford Place, De Medeiros said, which fails to attract workers, or to keep them at the facility.
Arthur McDonald, who used to work at Stanford and still volunteers there, said the changing faces at the facility means residents can’t build up trust with their care worker, as there is often someone new they’ve never met assigned to their care.
Darcy Van Vliet, who’s parents were at Stanford Place for three years, came by to speak with employees at the rally.
“It makes me really sad because these are our seniors. These are our beloved seniors, and they should be cared for to the best that they can care for them, and you’re getting staff that are getting so overworked and burnt out, and it’s just not right.”
“The care workers are dong the best they can, but you can see they are over-stressed,” she said.
Shortly after speaking with The NEWS, De Medeiros was called into a meeting with Stanford Place management.
He came back a short while later, saying Retirement Concepts had levied disciplinary action against him for allegedly bullying Stanford management, slandering the company on social media and other things, which he said he will grieve.
“I believe that they’re trying to get rid of me,” he said.
Retirement Concepts declined to provide an immediate comment, saying one would be forthcoming at another time.