HAMILTON, ON — Like in other Ontario communities, Hamilton area long-term care residents receive less care from less staff than just about anywhere elsewhere in Canada, a report being released Monday in Hamilton has found.
The new research by the Canadian Union of Public Employees (CUPE) indicates that not only is long-term care underfunded in Ontario, it is also understaffed compared to the other provinces. ‘Long-Term Care Understaffing Fewer Hands in Hamilton’ reviews the brewing crisis in care and estimates the level of understaffing at Hamilton long-term care homes.
Two Hamilton long-term care direct care staff, one a nurse, the other a personal support worker, will be available at the report launch to talk about their front-line experiences providing care to residents in a challenging, under-resourced and increasingly under stress system. They report that care is compromised in a number of areas: resident safety, cleanliness, eating, dressings, conditions that force residents into incontinence, and insufficient infection control. Sadly, they say a lack of time to provide emotional care to residents, who are often at their most vulnerable and in the final stages of life, is now the “accepted norm.”
Hamilton has 17 long-term care facilities with 2,437 beds. Only the sickest are even being allowed to wait for a long-term care bed because there aren’t enough beds in the system.
According to the research, an aggressive government strategy to cut costs by removing as many patients as possible from hospitals has compounded the difficulties of rapidly changing demographics.
Understaffing in long-term care where the majority of residents are over 85 years old, have complex conditions, including many with dementia, “is systemic,” says Michael Hurley, president of CUPE’s Ontario Council of Hospital Unions (OCHU/CUPE).
Hurley encourages all three provincial political parties to “look at the evidence for increasing resident care objectively, particularly when it comes to resident safety, and commit to increasing care and staffing levels in long-term care. By ignoring glaring staffing shortages, we will regrettably continue to see resident-on-resident attacks. Some, like the beating of a Hamilton area long-term care resident this winter by another resident, will result in deaths.”
WHAT: Media conference ‘Long-Term Care Understaffing Fewer Hands in Hamilton’ report
WHERE: CUPE 7800 Office, 795 King Street East, Hamilton
WHEN: Monday, May 15, 2017, 10:00 a.m.
For more information, please contact:
Stella Yeadon, CUPE Communications, 416-559-9300