Stories from the frontline: What Cathy told the Minister of Health

“At the end of the day, I want to be able to go home and know I’ve done everything I possibly can for the residents.”

That’s the first priority for Cathy Labrash and her coworkers who care for people at a long-term care home in Sudbury, and that’s what she told Minister of Health and Long-Term Care Eric Hoskins at a meeting on Wednesday, January 21.

Cathy Labrash, RPN from Sudbury

SEIU Healthcare members are committed to sharing our stories from the frontline to make sure patients are receiving the best care and healthcare workers are supported at the same time.

Ultimately, that means that we require more provincial funding to get more staff working shifts in long-term care homes, and to encourage them to stay in the sector.

Cathy met in person with Dr. Hoskins in Sudbury, where she works as a quality assurance coordinator and nurse with a facility home to 230 people.

She has lived in Capreol, her hometown with a population of 4,000, all her life and has been a registered practical nurse (RPN) since 1992. She did her preceptorship at a long-term care home straight out of school.

“I just love seniors, they’re great people,” says Cathy. “I ended up staying.”

She had just a few minutes of one-on-one time with Dr. Hoskins, and used this opportunity to drive home the number one challenge facing the long-term care sector: staffing.

Although she is an RPN, Cathy emphasized the heavy workloads of personal support workers (PSWs) in the homes.

PSWs take care of all activities of daily living (mobility, toileting, meals, etc.), and are each responsible for 10 or more residents at any given time. RPNs are normally responsible for around 38 residents, but when they are short-staffed, that number doubles.

“The workload is tremendous,” she says. “We take good care of the residents, but they need more of us out there. It is difficult to find the time to even talk with them.”

Cathy is thankful for the opportunity to sit down with the Minister and speak with him about delivering better healthcare to Sudbury families.

“He was receptive to what I was saying. He’s listening to the stories now, so hopefully this is a start to something better.”

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