Free training and a job are the incentives that Haven Hill Retirement Centre is hoping will ease the health care aide crisis they, and many other long-term care facilities, are experiencing.
An information session is planned for Friday from 10 a.m. to noon at the centre for those interested in learning more about the cost-free program.
Haven Hill received a WorkBC grant of more than $100,000 covering 16 student spaces from now until early next year.
They are working in conjunction with Sprott Shaw College to help combat what is being described as a health human resources emergency due to staff shortages at Interior long-term care homes.
It’s estimated by some health care providers that there are 250 unfilled care aide positions in the Interior.
“It is a crisis situation,” said Jolene Gagne, Haven Hill’s care manager. “Especially with summer coming up and everyone expecting to get their vacations, you don’t have any relief staff to cover them.
“The reality of it is we need to fill the empty lines (positions) that we have full time, plus we need probably another 20 casuals to fill in the gaps.”
Her boss, Haven Hill general manager Zander Cook agreed: “Our team here have been working their butts off, working double time, working short.
“We have an amazing group of people working really hard just to try and maintain the status quo.”
He described the new program as a “glimmer of hope” for not only his staff but for Okanagan long-term care centres in general.
There will be two sessions for eight students for the 29-week program the first starting June 24 and the second Aug. 19.
Applicants will have to meet the Sprott Shaw requirements to qualify for the program which costs about $9,500 according to Gagne.
“It’s not a job you want somebody here just for a paycheque,” she said. “You want them to be here because they want to be here because they love what they do.”
Zander was among a group of long-term care managers who recently attended a seminar put on by The Hamlets at Penticton general manager Dave Gutscher.
Students and instructors of Sprott Shaw College’s Licenced Practical Nurses and care aide programs were also invited to attend.
The idea was for the facilities to work together during the current crisis as a way to be better able to deal with the problem.
Deadline for applications is May 31 for the June 24 start and July 14 for the August start date.