health care

Dignitaries cut the ribbon Thursday on a new care aide training centre at Haven Hill Retirement Centre.

A new training program based at Haven Hill Retirement Centre in Penticton is helping care aides take better care of themselves on the job.

Moving into its fifth year, non-profit association SafeCare B.C. has now opened five such satellite training centres across B.C. to train staff to avoid workplace injuries.

“What we see is safe handling-related injuries. For example, somebody hurts their back, or their neck or their shoulder,” said chief executive officer Jennifer Lyle. “Violence is a rising area of concern, too.”

Haven Hill marks the SafeCare B.C.’s first partnership location within the Interior. Sprott Shaw Community College students will also be given the opportunity to utilize the room as a part of the care aide program.

Ensuring care aides are safe on the job in turns helps keep patients safe by keeping facilities fully staffed, explained Lyle.

Since SafeCare B.C.’s inception, injury rates have declined from 9% to 7.8% as of last year.

“We’re at our lowest injury rate ever over the past five years. We’re making headway, but we still have a ways to go,” said Lyle.

Shifts missed due to work injuries last year was the equivalent of 350 full-time-equivalent employees.

 “Our front-line care workers are really the backbone of our health care facility. And if we don’t take care of them, who’s going to be around to take care of us when we need it?” asked Lyle.

Penticton MLA Dan Ashton said the training facility will have a major impact on the industry.

 “Workplace injuries make a big difference,” he said. “Not only to the person injured … but for the loss of staff, and especially in organizations like these incredible homes that look after those who need an extra hand. It’s so challenging nowadays.”

Penticton city Coun. Katie Robinson said she still suffers to this day from a back injury suffered while working in the health-care industry.

“This training is so essential, and it’s so crucial to be properly trained,” she said. “To be the first in the Interior to have this kind of training, it’s going to be so invaluable to everyone involved.”