Vaccination deadline arrives for LTC staff with group of Canadian operators

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Deadline day has arrived for full immunizations for employees at many privately run long-term care and retirement homes in Canada.

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A coalition of privately-run homes run by Chartwell, Extendicare, Responsive Group, Revera and Siena announced in August that COVID-19 vaccination would be mandatory for employees across the country.

Any employee who is not fully vaccinated by the October 12 deadline will be placed on unpaid leave of absence. Full vaccination is also required for all new employees, students and agency personnel in each organization.

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The group says they do not expect the new policy to affect staffing levels.

“The safety of our residents in long-term care and retirement homes, who rely on us to provide their care and services, is paramount,” the group said in the statement. “This policy will increase the level of safety for residents and improve quality of life by reducing the need for isolation and disruption of daily activities resulting from outbreak restrictions.”

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The Government of Ontario has announced that they will be Making COVID-19 vaccines mandatory for long-term care workers. Employees who have not been vaccinated or granted a waiver by November 15 will no longer be able to enter a long-term care home to work.

Previously, Ontario long-term care workers were required to disclose their vaccination status and those who do not get vaccinated for non-medical reasons were required to undergo education about the importance of vaccination.

A recent survey conducted by the National Institute on Aging found that 67 percent of Canadian respondents do not think long-term care homes provide safe and reliable care.

That number is above 75 percent for those who have identified a resident as family members, friends or unpaid caregivers in long-term care. The results of the survey will be used to help shape new national standards for long-term care services being prepared by the Health Standards Organization.

Last year the Trudeau government asked the Health Standards Organization to refresh its long-term care standards – the first draft is to be made public early next year.

With files from the Canadian Press

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