Disruptions ‘ironed out’ after staff cuts: Bethany CEO

Staffing cuts at Bethany Care Centres caused initial disruptions in patient care but those problems are being ironed out, the company president and CEO said on Monday. Greer Black said there were staffing service issues within long-term care at Bethany Collegeside in Red Deer.

Staffing cuts at Bethany Care Centres caused initial disruptions in patient care but those problems are being ironed out, the company president and CEO said on Monday.

Greer Black said there were staffing service issues within long-term care at Bethany Collegeside in Red Deer.

However, things are settling down after the cuts were made on April 8.

About four full-time equivalent positions were cut at Red Deer and about 2.5 FTEs at Bethany Sylvan Lake. The reductions focused on health care aides and licensed practical nurses.

A registered nurse position was added at each centre to meet the requirements of the Alberta Health Services funding model.

It’s not just the layoffs that caused disruptions, but when the changes were made, there were unionized employees who had to move around due to seniority, Black said.

Now, staff is getting used to the new schedules.

“Staff are more positive in how things are working,” he said.

“I won’t dispute there wasn’t some initial impact, but as we’re getting three weeks into it, things are starting to settle out.”

Families have noticed the impacts.

Among them is Maureen Davis, whose husband is on a dementia unit at Collegeside.

She’s noticed there are fewer aides to help the residents get dressed, and get them ready for breakfast in the morning and at lunchtime.

Often it takes two people to lift an individual, but now there’s a lot more waiting because the staffing numbers are down.

She said the impact due to staffing reductions has been “dreadful.”

Black said they still have some adjustments to make.

“There are some pressure points, meal times being one,” said Black.

“We’re looking at how we can modify and address those things.”

If families have issues, Black said they are invited to speak to the site manager or they can call Bethany Care Society in Calgary at 1-888-410-4679, or express their concerns to Health Minister Fred Horne.

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