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COVID-19 & Seniors Care Workforce Shortages

The COVID-19 pandemic has been a disrupting force globally and has had a significant impact on how care is provided to older adults. Recognizing these impacts, BCCPA decided to survey its members to learn more about how the pandemic and subsequent government response has impacted the seniors care and living workforce.

A nurse standing with her arms crossed smiling and looking at the camera; behind her a multi-ethnic group of medical professionals stand together in a hospital building.
 

Data was collected from non-government long-term care homes, assisted living residences, and home health organizations throughout the province during four weeks in March and April in 2021. Care providers reported vacancies for full-time and part-time positions, which were used to estimate full-time equivalencies (FTEs).

According to the latest information available from care providers, there are currently 590 full-time nursing and personal care positions vacant in the seniors’ care sector, including 390 FTEs for HCAs, 110 FTEs for LPNs and 90 FTEs for RNs. Review the maps below to learn more about HCA shortages in your local health authority.1


 

Impacts of Single Site Orders

While necessary to prevent and reduce the spread of COVID-19, single site staffing orders have had significant impacts on the healthcare workforce. When asked to report on the impacts of single site orders, BCCPA  found that:

  • Eight in ten care providers (78%) report significant challenges recruiting and retaining a robust pool of casual workers.
  • Three-quarters of survey respondents (74%) report that their overtime has increased as compared to normal operations.
  • Eight in ten (78%) operators report that it is more challenging to schedule paid-time off, as compared to normal operations.
  • A minority of care providers (22%) report that their sick time has increased, a challenge that they attribute largely to a lack of timely COVID-19 testing in some areas of the province.

NOTES

BCCPA is continuously working to update and expand this information, including information for non-care positions.

  1. Data was collected during March and April of 2021 and that these figures may have changed since the time they were collected. Job vacancies do not reflect the quality of care or number of hours provided to seniors; employers fill vacant positions through use of casual staff, overtime and staffing agencies to ensure that seniors get the care that they require.
  2. Data provided shows non-government organizations only. Government owned/operated staffing are not included in these maps, and may have additional vacancies.
  3. The definition of a vacancy includes any position that the provider is actively seeking to fill, including full-time, part-time and temporary positions; positions currently being filled by temporary help agencies, volunteers or independent contractors due to an inability to recruit. Casual positions are not counted.
  4. The job vacancy rate is defined the number of job vacancies or vacant positions at a given point in time, expressed as a percentage of labour demand (occupied positions and vacant positions).
  5. Caution should be used when interpreting the data from Northern Health due to a low sample size (N=2).