FREDERICTON (GNB) – Seniors and Long-Term Care Minister Lisa Harris visited the Pine Grove Nursing Home in Fredericton today to recognize the dedication of workers in the long-term care sector and to highlight the work being done, along with stakeholder groups, to support recruitment in the sector.

“I applaud those working in the long-term care sector for ensuring senior care services provided in New Brunswick meet the needs of our seniors,” said Harris. “We are in a unique demographic position and it is vital that we offer high-quality training programs in order to continue to provide excellent care for our growing senior population.”

The New Brunswick Association of Nursing Homes has made several recommendations based upon a study of workforce shortages. The Department of Social Development is participating in a recruitment and retention committee that is examining those recommendations.

The Department of Post-Secondary Education, Training and Labour has several initiatives underway aimed at helping students gain the training and skills they need for careers in the sector.

“The Collège communautaire du Nouveau-Brunswick works in close co-operation with the government and nursing homes to address the pressing labour needs in nursing homes since several jobs are available,” said Liane Roy, president and CEO of the college. “Incentives like the Free Tuition Program were put in place by the government to encourage people to go back to school. The college also continually adjusts its training to better address the needs of employers in the province, including nursing homes. To that end, since May 2017, the personal support worker (long-term care) program is offered over a short 20-week period, and, among other things, it allows students to alternate between studies and practical internships, which will allow them to have quicker access to employment.”

The departments of Social Development and Post-Secondary Education, Training and Labour are developing a program that could lead to co-op placements for students in long-term care homes. This proposed program would provide participants with the training and skills necessary to allow them to enter the work force earlier.

The two departments are also working with the New Brunswick Association of Nursing Homes on how best to use immigration to address some of their workforce needs.

Fostering healthy aging and support for seniors is one of the seven priority areas outlined in the New Brunswick Family Plan framework, which also focuses government action on: improving access to primary and acute care; promoting wellness; supporting people with addictions and mental health challenges; advancing women’s equality; reducing poverty and providing support for persons living with a disability.