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Information on Long Term Care
The Ontario Liberals first came to office in 2003 promising to fix long-term care (LTC) by improving care standards. At the time they promised a new minimum daily care standard for the tens of thousands of residents in LTC homes across the province that they have yet to deliver on.
“So far they have let vulnerable seniors down. And we will be advocating to ensure that quality of care for a growing legion of seniors – the majority of whom are over 85 years old – improves,” said Candace Rennick the secretary-treasurer of the Canadian Union of Public Employees (CUPE) Ontario, and a former LTC worker. Rennick made the comments at a recent media conference in Minden focused on the need for a legislated care standard of 3.5 hours of hands-on care per resident per day.
In addition to Minden, the 3.5 hour LTC campaign media conferences include Sudbury, Kingston, Niagara, Peterborough, Guelph, Hamilton, Cornwall, Ottawa, London and Windsor. A video produced by CUPE’s Ontario Council of Hospital Unions (OCHU) featuring CUPE members who work as personal support workers (PSWs), registered practical nurses (RPNs) and direct care aides is screened for media attending the media conferences.
Area LTC direct care staff Karen Popadynetz and Dorothy Winterburn, joined Rennick at the Minden media conference. They described the challenges faced by long-term care workers in providing care with dignity for residents in an under-resourced and under-staffed LTC system. PSWs, RPNs and care aides and their front-line experiences providing resident care are a key part of the media conferences that also include OCHU president Michael Hurley and CUPE Ontario Health Care Workers Coordinating Committee chair Susan Schmidt.
CUPE is not alone in pushing the province to enact a 3.5 hour care standard. A 2005 Coroner’s Jury report looking into the deaths of residents in a for-profit facility also called for a minimum standard of 3.5 hours.
According to Statistics Canada, Ontario spends $155.30 per LTC resident a day. This is far less than Quebec at $254.30, Saskatchewan at $216.70 and Alberta at $201.80. Only PEI and New Brunswick spend less.
“Think of all the funding going into tax cuts for big business that could be going to improve the quality of care for a growing legion of Ontario seniors,” said Rennick. PSWs, dietary aides and RPNs are also asking to meet with their members of provincial parliament (MPP) and urging them to champion minimum 3.5 hours of care standard in the upcoming Legislative session.