Shane Strickland is the dean for the School of Health at Confederation College, and he talks about one of the important challenges facing long-term care.

"I can confirm yes, in fact, there is a need for PSWs (personal support workers) graduates across northwestern Ontario, and this has been an ongoing need for a number of years now," he says, adding they're working with community partners to address shortages.

Along with the addressing the shortage of qualified staff, the province is also hoping to address a shortage of licenced beds. Strickland notes the college is using distance education through satellite campuses to help meet the demand in some of the smaller communities.

"Without students learning in those areas, it's harder for smaller communities to attract people from other regions," Strickland said. "Providing that education on site is one of the best solutions for making sure PSWs are available across northwestern Ontario," he added.

Yesterday, Queen's Park announced it is investing $187 million in 2018-2019 to improve access to hospital beds and reduce wait times in hospitals across the province. Ontario's Minister of Health and Long-Term Care says they will also be investing in more home and community care services, as well as more long-term care beds across the province.

The issue becomes more important in the district, as hospital beds are full or near-full in Dryden, Kenora and Sioux Lookout. Queen's Park is looking to add 5,000 beds within five years, and another 30,000 beds within 10 years.

For more information:

Long-term care funding

Province addresses long-term care

Ministry's statement

Overcrowding in the region

KDSB looks at long-term care beds

Sioux Lookout mayor makes the case for more long-term care

More long-term care beds needed

Leney discusses seniors, long-term care

 

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