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Frontline health care assistants meet in Victoria for third annual Hearts and Hands conference

Published on: October 03, 2018

Richmond B.C. — More than 170 health care assistants (HCAs) are meeting today at the third annual Hearts and Hands conference in Victoria to focus on the health and wellbeing of HCAs.

Health care assistants — the 35,000 frontline caregivers in homes, residential-care facilities and hospitals in B.C. — experience the highest number of accepted time-loss injury claims of any occupation in the province, with more than 16,000 time-loss injury claims between 2013 and 2017 alone. The largest number of injuries occurs in residential care, followed by home care and hospitals.

"This conference is dedicated to celebrating health care assistants and the vital work they do," says Denise Subotin, Manager, Public Sector, Industry and Labour Services, WorkSafeBC. "We want to encourage caregivers and support their wellbeing and self-care skills."

The Hearts and Hands Conference will focus on the challenges of staying healthy while working in health care, and offer techniques for managing fatigue and having difficult conversations. Keynote speaker Sara Wegwitz, a Registered Nurse with a specialization in mental fitness and resiliency training, will talk about strategies for building confidence and transforming one's outlook.

According to WorkSafeBC statistics, 36 percent of all injuries in the health care subsector are reported by HCAs — a group that includes community health workers, residential-care aides, and home support workers, among others. Ninety-one percent of claims are filed by women; 25 percent are from workers over the age of 55.

The top three types of injury are: overexertion (musculosketal injuries), acts of violence, and slips, trips, and falls. WorkSafeBC health-care sector resources includes videos, discussion guides, pamphlets and bulletins on handling patients safely, fall prevention, reducing the risk of workplace violence, and dementia-care best practices.

The Victoria conference is being held at the Saanich Fair Grounds, 1528 Stellys Cross Road, Saanichton, from 7:30 a.m. to 3:30 p.m.

Media are invited from 9:30 a.m. until noon. WorkSafeBC's Denise Subotin and keynote speaker Sara Wegwitz, RN, are available for interviews on Oct. 3.

The 2018 Victoria Hearts and Hands Conference organizing committee is a unique partnership among HCA employers and educators that includes: Bayshore Health Care, Camosun College, Earth's Option Cremation & Burial, Home Instead Senior Care, Revera, SafeCare BC, Sprott Shaw College, and WorkSafeBC.

WorkSafeBC is an independent provincial statutory agency governed by a Board of Directors appointed by the provincial government. The organization serves approximately 2.4 million workers and 238,000 employers throughout British Columbia. In administering the Workers Compensation Act, the organization is accountable to the public through the provincial government.

Media contacts:

Erica Simpson
Media Relations, WorkSafeBC
Cell: 778-874-0281

Trish Knight Chernecki
Media Relations, WorkSafeBC
Cell: 778.871.5841