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MB government offering tuition support for uncertified health-care workers

By: Q Country/Star FM News
Posted: July 20, 2022 08:35

Program to help enhance skills to expand staffing at personal care homes

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Uncertified health-care aides working in the public health system will be offered tuition support to enhance their skills as part of ongoing efforts to expand staffing in personal care homes, Economic Development, Investment and Trade Minister Cliff Cullen, Health Minister Audrey Gordon, and Seniors and Long-term Care Minister Scott Johnston announced Tuesday (July 19). 

"Manitoba is investing in the education and training of our health-care workforce," said Cullen. "Providing opportunities for uncertified health-care aides already working in the public health system to upgrade their skills will allow them to provide a higher level of support to the Manitoban seniors they help provide care for." 

Over the coming year, eligible uncertified health-care aides working throughout the province can apply for tuition support, beginning with an initial intake of approximately 120 students. The course will be offered part-time over 24 weeks through a mix of virtual and in-person learning. Uncertified health-care aides were first hired in 2020, following a one-week training course, to support residents living in personal care homes (PCHs) during the pandemic. Providing them the training they need to become certified will give them the necessary industry credential to become permanent, long-term employees, Cullen said. 

"We are committed to strengthening the health-care system by providing seniors living in personal care homes the care they need," said Gordon. "Investing in further training for uncertified health-care aides working in our public health system will improve health outcomes for older Manitobans." 

The Manitoba government is investing up to $3.4 million toward the initiative, in addition to a $16-million commitment announced last month to expand staffing and training in PCHs. The staffing initiative aligns with ongoing efforts to fulfil all recommendations of the Stevenson Review, which includes the recruitment and hiring of additional health-care aides to increase the amount of daily direct care provided to residents. 

"Our government will continue to make improvements and staffing investments in the short and long term to ensure older Manitobans are supported and receive safe and people-centred services," said Johnston. "We are reinforcing our government's commitment to seniors in our province by addressing and implementing all of the recommendations set out in the Stevenson Review." 

"Uncertified health-care aides have been a welcome addition during the pandemic to support care in long-term care," said Kevin Scott, chief operating officer, Deer Lodge Centre, Middlechurch Home and River Park Gardens. "The opportunity for these individuals to upgrade their qualifications and become certified means they will be able to carry out all the duties of a health-care aide and provide the best possible care for residents." 

Other initiatives previously announced as part of last month's commitment include: 

- addition of approximately 350 health-care aide positions; 
- addition of 72 new positions for registered nurses and licensed practical nurses; 
- establishment of medical leads to provide leadership and guidance to PCH medical services and infection prevention and control enhancements; and 
- investment of $1.5 million in tuition supports and direct-care staff recruitment incentives to help build this workforce. 
The funding is in addition to more than $15 million announced this past spring to improve infection prevention and control in the long-term care sector, add housekeeping and allied health staff and improve information and communication technology related to patient care and operations, noted Gordon. 

In April 2022, the province released the final report of the Stevenson Review, an independent external report following a serious COVID-19 outbreak at the Maples Long Term Care Home that began in late 2020. The government accepted all of the report's 17 recommendations. 

Uncertified aides are being provided information about the opportunity by their employer and are encouraged to apply. Details are also being provided on the Shared Health website, at https://healthcareersmanitoba.ca/professions/clinical-support/uncertified-health-care-aides/bridging-program 

For more information or to read the Final Report of the Provincial Implementation Plan for the Stevenson Review , visit https://gov.mb.ca/seniors/maples_review.html 

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