Striking employees of the Waterloo-Wellington Community Care Access Centre (CCAC), members of Ontario Nurses Association (ONA) Local 15, need your support.
Please consider doing what these teachers, pictured here, did today: go out to one of their picket lines to stand in solidarity and show our support for their fight for fairness. The picket schedule is posted on the ONA website.
You can also show your support by completing the online letter to CCAC CEOs via the following link: http://www.ona.org/political_action/supportccac.html
Below is a letter from Susanne Kaufman, a Registered Nurse with the CCAC, describing the situation. -Lois
I am writing with the hope that you will understand the role of a Care Coordinator and why I am asking for support of your local Community Care Access Centre (CCAC) ONA members currently on strike.
My role as a Care Coordinator is to ensure that people in the community continue to receive the health care services they need in order to remain in their home for as long as possible. Some of these services include Personal Support Work, Nursing, Physiotherapy, Occupational Therapy, Social Work, Speech Language Pathology, Mental health support, Pediatric and Palliative Care. We also ensure that patients that are older or with physical and mental disabilities are placed into long term care homes.
As you are aware, as of January 30, 2015, Care Coordinators at 9 Ontario CCACs voted to strike over wage equity. This was a hard decision for us to make; we are compassionate people who chose this profession to take care of others. Unfortunately, please understand that we are burned out and are not treated fairly by our employers. We love our patients but our health is compromised by workload. It is common for a Care Coordinator to arrive early to work, stay late, work at home, request for overtime pay and get rejected. It is also common for a Care Coordinator to have chronic back, neck and joint pain because we stay at our desks to keep up with the workload. Many of us choose not to take our lunches or breaks in order to ensure that health referrals are processed, patients are assessed at home, patient calls are answered, families are reassured that we are following up, the correct medical equipment and supplies are ordered and delivered on time, medical orders are written accurately for patient safety, nurses are adhering to evidence-based and Best Practices for wound care treatment, following up with physicians within and outside our region, and submitting monthly accountability reports to our Managers to ensure that we are allocating resources appropriately. We prioritize patient safety above all else.
At present, workload capacity for a Community Care Coordinator is averaging 130% based on the recommended weighing of caseloads by the Ontario Association of CCACs. Consequently, patients are waiting longer than expected for home assessments and reassessments to ensure that we are providing their needs at home. We also have a waitlist of patients that need the therapies aforementioned, some waiting for years. We are unable to follow up because we receive approximately 50 new referrals daily from our local hospitals where discharge planning is completed by Hospital Care Coordinators who are also burned out and pressured by the hospital to discharge patients.
Please show support to the Care Coordinators in your community by calling on the Liberal government to reach a fair settlement that respects our concerns about workload and our profession. If you support the need for quality care in the community it would greatly encourage myself and my colleagues if you would visit us on the picket line, the picket schedule is posted on the Ontario Nurses Association website, www.ona.org.
You can also show your support by completing the online letter to CCAC CEOs via the following link http://www.ona.org/political_action/supportccac.html
We simply ask to be treated respectfully, compensated fairly, and assigned reasonable workloads to ensure that our patients remain safe and supported in the community.
Please help us to fight for fairness.
Thank you for taking the time to read this letter.
Susanne Kaufman RN