Unsafe Staffing Levels at Erie St. Clair CCAC: Care Coordinators call in expert panel to make recommendations

WINDSOR, CHATHAM and SARNIA, ON, June 18, 2014 /CNW/ - Care Coordinators who are concerned about patient care and access to community services, staffing levels and patient safety at the Erie St. Clair Community Care Access Centre (ESC-CCAC) have called in an Independent Assessment Committee (IAC) to review the issues. While IAC panels have addressed issues in other health care facilities, this is the first time a panel has been called on to resolve CCAC issues.

"This hearing is about ensuring that patients who require timely access to CCAC services receive the quality of care they need and deserve," said ONA President Linda Haslam-Stroud, RN. "Care Coordinators are highly skilled registered nurses, physiotherapists, social workers, occupational therapists, respiratory therapists and speech therapists."

The Care Coordinators fill a vital role by assessing the level of care patients require, developing and implementing a patient-centered plan of in-home and community healthcare services to support patients to enable them to continue living in their homes for as long as possible. They also provide ongoing evaluation to adjust services that address the changing care needs of patients and their families as well as transition into appropriate level of care.

"Our dedicated Care Coordinators consistently advocate for patients and have provided written documentation to their employer outlining their inability to properly and safely care for their community patients," said Haslam-Stroud. "The employer has failed to adequately address the professional practice concerns of our members, and they remain concerned about the health of patients and meeting their professional standards because of insufficient staffing." 

The Care Coordinators – members of the Ontario Nurses' Association (ONA) – are providing evidence to the independent panel of three nursing experts on the negative impact that inadequate Care Coordinator staffing levels and process issues are having on patient care. The panel will address the professional workload complaints of the regulated health care professions and determine whether Care Coordinators are being assigned more work than is consistent with the profession of safe quality patient care.

A hearing is called as a last resort after Care Coordinators and CCAC management have attempted at length to settle workload issues internally.

ONA is the union representing 60,000 front-line RNs and allied health professionals and more than 14,000 nursing student affiliates providing care in Ontario hospitals, long-term care facilities, public health, the community, industry and clinics.

Visit us at: www.ona.org; Facebook.com/OntarioNurses; Twitter.com/OntarioNurses

SOURCE Ontario Nurses' Association

For further information: Ontario Nurses' Association: Sheree Bond, (416) 964-8833, ext. 2430, cell: (416) 986-8240, shereeb@ona.org; Melanie Levenson, (416) 964-8833 ext. 2369, melaniel@ona.org