Image from WorkSafeBC.

Image from WorkSafeBC.

Hearts and Hands conference to celebrate health care assistants

The Victoria-based WorkSafeBC conference is happening in Penticton on Oct. 17

The WorkSafeBC Hearts and Hands conference is coming to Penticton to celebrate and support healthcare assistants in the area.

In its third year, the Victoria-based event is being hosted for the first time in Penticton at the Trade and Convention Centre from 7:30 a.m. to 3:30 p.m. on Oct. 17.

“This conference is dedicated to celebrating healthcare assistants and the really important work that they do in our communities and the health care system,” said Denise Subotin, WorkSafeBC manager in industry and labour services for the public sector. “We’re wanting to provide education and strategies to support the safety and wellbeing of these workers.”

According to WorkSafeBC statistics, HCAs “experience the highest number of injuries of any occupation in B.C. WorkSafeBC accepted more than 16,000 time-loss claims in the last five years from members of this occupation.”

Related: Healthcare assistant program to bring increased health care access to Oliver

The need for HCAs is increasing across the province and especially in the South Okanagan. As a result, the Okanagan College is offering a special health care assistant program in Oliver beginning in February 2019.

Subotin said HCAs play an important role and have “very personal interactions with a range of patients and clients within the health care system.”

“We want to make sure when the healthcare assistants are carrying out their roles, that they are safe and supported as possible,” said Subotin. “They work through all parts of the healthcare industry – in acute care in hospitals, in residential care facilities, and in the community at people’s houses providing support.”

Subotin said this conference is meant to have a celebratory feel for the work HCAs do and will feature “non-work-related vendors” and the opportunity for attendees to network.

They will also hear from multiple speakers presenting on various topics from mental health to fatigue.

“The education being provided is really meant to provide strategies to support them in the workplace and support their wellbeing and support their ability to raise concerns and provide self-care,” said Subotin.

For more information about Hearts and Hands, visit