October 18, 2011 is Health Care Assistant Day in B.C.

Province proclaims celebration of front-line care aides and community health workers

Care aides, community health workers and other front-line caregivers will be formally honoured for the work they do looking after British Columbians in long-term and acute care facilities and in our communities after B.C. Lieutenant Governor Steven L. Point recently proclaimed October 18, 2011 as Health Care Assistant Day.

Health care assistant is the new name used to describe several different positions including community health workers, residential care aides, home support workers, long term care aides, home health aides, continuing care assistants and personal care aides. 

HEU secretary-business manager Judy Darcy said that acknowledgement of these front-line health care workers is appreciated and highlights how important the care and support they provide every day to patients, residents and clients really are. 

“More than 15,000 HEU members deliver services and programs to seniors and people with disabilities that enable them to live independently in their homes or supported in a variety of facilities from assisted living to extended care to hospitals.

“We welcome the public recognition of their significant contribution to the health and well-being of our fellow citizens, and to helping maintain a society of which we can all be proud,” said Darcy.

Health Care Assistant Day is the result of the collaborative effort of stakeholders – including unions, educators, employers and government representatives – on the Care Aide & Community Health Worker Registry advisory committee.

The B.C. government proclamation notes that “Health Care Assistants have demonstrated to be an indispensable component in the safety and quality of personal care to patients, clients and residents...” something that is widely evidenced in research studies in Canada and abroad.

“HEU, along with other unions, has worked closely with government, health care workers, educators and employers to ensure that the Care Aide & Community Health Worker Registry would establish a province-wide training standard for new graduate care aides (CAs) and community health workers (CHWs), and ensure a fair process for investigating abuse allegations against front-line workers,” said Darcy. 

“The union has been very proactive in advocating for and securing training opportunities for care aides to expand their scope of practice to include new roles in long-term and acute care.” 

HEU will be marking October 18 with activities and celebrations around the province.