OTTAWA, ON — Too many tragic stories about care quality and resident safety in long-term care homes, “should prompt the provincial government to urgent action to make a daily 4-hour resident care standard the law in Ontario,” say area direct care staff holding a noon rally tomorrow (Thursday, July 27, 2017) at the Perley and Rideau Veterans’ Health Centre (1750 Russell Road, Ottawa).
Ontario long-term care patients are older and sicker than they were a decade ago. The majority have some form of cognitive impairment. Yet “staffing and funding are lower in our province than the rest of Canada, research shows,” says Michael Hurley CUPE’s Ontario Council of Hospital Unions (OCHU/CUPE) president.
Ontario’s annual funding per long-term care bed totals $43,970.77 compared with $52,185.09 in the rest of Canada, excluding Ontario. The rest of Canada has the equivalent of 3.67 hours a day of nursing and personal care for each resident while Ontario has just 3.15 hours daily.
Across Ontario nurses, personal support workers and other long-term care staff, along with resident family council advocates, have appealed to the Ontario Liberal government to increase resident care levels.
Bonnie Soucie has several decades of experience as a chronic and long-term care registered practical nurse (RPN) in Ottawa. She says there aren’t enough staff to meet the growing and complex care needs of significantly older residents in long-term care than there were even a decade ago. “This means daily direct care is hectic, rushed and lacks compassion. But that’s not all,” Soucie says. “Care is compromised in many ways, from resident cleanliness and infection control, to feeding, the research indicates.”
Another very sad aspect of insufficient care levels, Hurley says are conditions that increase incontinence because there are not enough staff to answer call bells when residents need to be helped to the toilet. “Care staff are very demoralized. They want the province to act now to increase care hours. They are very concerned that a public inquiry initiated by the government to examine the horrific actions of one nurse, will delay care reforms that are needed now to improve care quality and to better protect residents.”
The province announced in late June, it intends to hold a public inquiry into the circumstances of the murders of eight elderly residents of long-term care homes in Woodstock and London.
A private members Bill (Bill 33 – The Time to Care Act) that if passed would set higher daily resident care levels (a minimum of 4-hours) is now in second reading in the Ontario Legislature.
For more information please contact:
Michael Hurley President, OCHU/CUPE 416-884-0770
Stella Yeadon CUPE Communications 416-559-9300