TORONTO – Ontario’s scientific advisers say a vicious cycle of burnout and understaffing of healthcare workers could be underway.
In a new research report, the group calls for organizational responses to mitigate the problem that is projected to continue through the COVID-19 pandemic and beyond.
Ontario’s COVID-19 Scientific Advisory Board report released this week looks at depletion patterns reported in Canada, North America, and around the world during the pandemic.
Their research focused on hospital workers, but the group says similar problems exist in other areas of healthcare, such as long-term care and public health.
Nurses working during the COVID-19 pandemic ‘past the point of depletion’
The group says burnout was a major health care problem before the pandemic, but has since reached levels that “pose a threat to maintaining a functioning health workforce.”
Research shows that nurses, people in emergency and intensive care departments, women, recent graduates, and apprentices are at increased risk of burnout, which can lead to people leaving their jobs and contributing even more to the risk of burnout among the remaining staff.
Scientific advisers say that organizational approaches are more effective in reducing burnout than in responding to individual cases.
Ontario healthcare workers battle burnout as economy prepares to reopen
Their report says organizations should work to ensure adequate staffing, minimize administrative tasks that increase workload, reduce overtime and long shifts, and avoid deploying staff to areas where they lack training.
He also recommends bringing in more new graduates and retaining current staff with financial compensation and building supportive workplaces.
Ontario reported 573 new COVID-19 cases and 10 new deaths on Friday. There were 154 people in intensive care units due to COVID-19, and 15 of them were reported to be fully vaccinated.
Just under 87 percent of eligible Ontarians had received at least one dose of the COVID-19 vaccine, and nearly 82 percent have both doses.
Also on Friday, the city of Toronto announced that it would require proof of vaccination for anyone over the age of 12 to participate in organized indoor sports beginning November 1.
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