They occupy the front lines of Canada’s crowded nursing homes, providing the bulk of care to increasingly challenging, dementia-suffering residents.
But the workers known as health-care aides have limited training, no regulation, “worrisome” levels of burnout and, in cities, are as likely as not to speak English as a second language, a new study suggests.
The study’s authors call for urgent action to optimize the crucial workforce of an estimated quarter-million, described as dedicated and hard working. They recommend funding for more on-the-job education and examining the dynamics of multi-ethnic employees serving clients of largely Western European background.
“Care aides, who are looking after your mother or your father who’s in a very frail, difficult state, aren’t required to have any ongoing upgrading,” said Carole Estabrooks, a University of Alberta nursing professor and the study’s lead author. “And we’ve got pretty good evidence that regular, in-service training helps them provide…