MONTREAL – Employees working in intermediate resources are demanding better salaries, arguing that their tasks are as demanding, if not more, than in CHSLDs.
“In intermediate resources, the attendants do not always have the support of a nurse on site, while in CHSLDs there is always a nurse on the floor”, underlined Johanne Pratte, Executive Director of the Association of intermediate accommodation resources of Quebec (ARIHQ).
The ARIHQ made public on Sunday a report it commissioned from expert Philippe Voyer.
Mr. Voyer, who is a professor at the Faculty of Nursing at Laval University, compared the tasks of the various beneficiary attendants, including those in intermediate resources (IR) and those in long-term care residential centers ( CHSLD).
While the CHSLD attendants take care of elderly patients or those with loss of autonomy, IR employees also take care of people with a physical or intellectual disability, mental health problems and young people in difficulty.
The researcher concludes that the functions performed by these different agents are comparable. The agents in IR, in residences for the elderly (RPA) and in home support even fulfill one more task than in a CHSLD: that of administering medication.
Consequently, the ARIHQ believes that IR employees should receive a salary equal to those in CHSLDs. Currently, with the government’s temporary bonus, IR attendants earn $ 18 per hour ($ 14 in normal times), while the salary in CHSLDs is $ 26 per hour.
“What we say is for equal work, equal pay,” Ms. Pratte said. The work is the same, it is complex, the clientele has more and more important needs. ”
A “complex” profession
In an interview, Mr. Voyer said that the work of an attendant is complex, “regardless of the environment”.
“What the report does not answer is the notion of intensity. We did not examine the ratios, we did not do a time-movement study to follow people to see how much time they spent with each resident, ”explained Mr. Voyer, who was based on existing literature and interviews.
But every attendant has challenges in their workplace. “We did interviews with agents who were in IR with young people who have the autism spectrum, with a lot of behavioral problems (…) It is very demanding in terms of relationships, in terms of ‘intervention,’ he said.
“But of course they don’t bathe with a patient lift in a therapeutic bath.”
The question of training
Right now, unlike other settings, IR workers do not need specific training to do their jobs.
The ARIHQ believes that there should be a “training base” for all orderlies, but according to them, it is difficult to demand it given the salary so low.
“When you hire staff, with an average salary of $ 14 an hour, it’s very difficult to require training. We get there in some places, but it’s very variable, ”she said.
Mr. Voyer indicates that this issue came up often during his interviews, due to the fact that employees from all backgrounds did not believe they were sufficiently trained to accomplish their complex tasks.
“People did not have pride, they said easily: ‘We have a difficult role and our training is not advanced enough, we need continuous training”, ”he said.
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