What’s missing from discussions on nursing homes

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  • Madhav Sinha says:

    Great article. Thanks.

  • Ann Marie McGuire says:

    February 3/2021

    I am a resident of a LTC residence in Hamilton, Ontario in Canada.

    After nearly one year of lockdown in my residence, I have recently found out that two PSWs believe the virus is a hoax and actually want to get the virus so they can show others that it is not as bad as is being reported on TV, radio and internet.

    Though they wear the proper PPE while working, on their own time are they being as careful as they should be? I feel that they would be high risk when performing their duties as PSWs.

    So far, we are covid free but it just takes one case and then it spreads.

    May I ask your opinion if these workers should be working in LTC and also can residents refuse their care. These two workers are husband and wife and speak about their beliefs openly with other staff and any resident that asks.

    Thank you for your time.

    Ann Marie McGuire
    LTC Resident in Hamilton, Ontario

  • Linda Murphy says:

    Thanks – a good description but underestimates the real staff ratios during the day and even more so at night. My experience and observations as a regular visitor with my parents over close to a decade suggest that nightime staff are closer to 1 PSW per 32 residents, one Nurse or RPN roaming across the building. During the day, floors are routinely short one worker with one borrowed from or to another floor that may have a more complex resident mix.
    I met many dedicated, caring workers but there are too many who should not be in this role. The practice of permitting double shifts is not excusable – this is a challenging and taxing job physically, mentally and emotionally and one cannot be up to the stress of it unless you are at 100%.
    Finally, as I got to know people over time I learned how many were employed on a casual basis – despite working FT hours for many years, raises and bonuses were unheard of.

  • JanisB says:

    Right on the money…… my father was in a LTC due to having Alzheimer’s. He never bathed a day as an adult, and hated the whole homer lift bathing experience.he would scratch the staff as he processed being dumped into a vat of water. I explained his choice. I also suggested they wear those blue polyester wrist cuffs ( that once upon a time they used to restrain residents) so as to reduce the amount of skin contact they had with his fingers. We used mittens when we accompanied an individual who had to go for dental work and would get aggressive due to the fact that it took four of us to restrain her in the dental chair. She lived in a group home and had developmental delays. Mittens were a godsend.


Pat Armstrong


Pat Armstrong is a Distinguished Research Professor in Sociology, Fellow of the Royal Society of Canada and teaches at York University.

Sharon Straus


Sharon Straus is a geriatrician and Physician in Chief, St. Michael’s Hospital-Unity Health Toronto.

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