Tuesday, June 25, 2024

Arnprior nursing home bolstering workforce with guaranteed employment, incentives to college grads

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In an effort to bolster its staffing levels, The Grove Nursing Home in Arnprior is promising guaranteed employment and up to $15,000 through provincial incentives to graduates of a new joint college program.

The Grove has partnered with Willis College to form a new “living classroom” program for personal support workers (PSW’s), which will see students get hands-on learning experience through their education.

“They will be onsite doing their classroom portion of their program,” said Jennifer Powley, vice-president of long-term care and community programs at Arnprior Regional Hospital.

“And then once they’re ready to actually do their clinical placement, they will come and work here at The Grove.”

Powley is hoping to bring on 10 new PSW’s through the program, which runs for eight months.

Haley Bain, a Willis College graduate and current PSW at The Grove, says the extra help would make a big difference to the depleted staffing levels care home is experiencing.

“Usually on the floor, we have about four PSW’s and on a good day, five,” Bain tells CTV News. “Each PSW gets about six or seven residents.”

“I think we’re just in such a shortage of staff right now that we really do need that push,” she says of the $15,000 in incentives. “And I think it’s amazing that these programs are allowing people to have that incentive.”

The Ontario Personal Support Workers Association says the level of incentives speaks to the need for staff across the province.

“If you get hired by a public long term care home or community care provider, then you can be paid up to $10,000 for the first year that you’re with them, and this is on top of your wages,” says Miranda Ferrier, CEO of the Ontario PSW Association.

Ferrier says the need for staff is significant, with 24,000 PSW’s needed in long term care by 2026.

Bain says with extra hands comes greater care.

“That’s one thing that we kind of miss out on with being short staffed all the time, is we don’t get that one-on-one time with the residents and that can be tough sometimes on them,” Bain said.

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