Ontario's NDP

Ontario's NDP

October 04, 2007 10:39 ET

McGuinty Neglect of Seniors Verging on Illegal: Report

TORONTO, ONTARIO--(Marketwire - Oct. 4, 2007) - Today's Toronto Star reports that the McGuinty Government is breaking its own laws when it comes to providing Ontario seniors with decent long-term care - and breaking its own promises to ensure a minimum standard of care for seniors:

"The Ontario government is helping to break its own laws when it lets nursing homes leave elderly residents lying for hours in urine-soaked diapers, according to a legal opinion prepared for the Ontario Federation of Labour...

"Written by Toronto lawyers Mary Cornish and Jo-Anne Pickel, the 29-page brief concludes that most nursing homes in the province violate laws, regulations and binding contractual obligations that require long-term care institutions to keep patients 'clean and dry' and 'promote their dignity and independence.'

"They say the so-called 75-per-cent rule, whereby a diaper is changed only after it is three-quarters full of urine, contravenes the province's human rights code against discrimination on the basis of age, disability and sex (elderly women suffer from incontinence more than men). And, they say, it may also violate the Charter of Rights and Freedoms.

"Nursing home administrators who insist that staff leave immobile residents festering in their own urine could also be charged with professional misconduct, they say.

"During the 2003 election campaign, the then opposition Liberals promised to introduce a new minimum standard of care in nursing homes to deal with the problem. Later that year, and after a Star series detailing the deplorable state of nursing homes caused him to burst into tears, newly appointed Health Minister George Smitherman promised a 'revolution' in long-term care.

"In the end, Smitherman never did bring in his promised minimum care standard. What he did do was write new nursing home legislation (which has been passed but not yet proclaimed into law) that, among other things, would limit the use of physical restraints on residents.

"In the legal argument, the reason for the 75 per cent rule is simple, the lawyers say. Queen's Park, which is responsible for funding most long-term care, doesn't provide nursing homes with enough money to take care of their approximately 75,000 elderly residents...

"Nursing home staff have long complained that they are liable to discipline if they change diapers too often. In a report two years ago, and distributed to every MPP, the OFL cited one instance where supervisors pulled used, sodden diapers out of the garbage and weighed them to ensure that staff were adhering to the 75 per cent rule.

"In another case, nursing home workers received free pizzas if they kept diaper use down.

"In this election campaign, the New Democrats are saying they want nursing home residents to receive a minimum of 3.5 hours of personal care a day, which would require the hiring of considerably more staff..." - Toronto Star, October 4, 2007.

Contact Information

  • Media Inquiries:
    Ontario's NDP
    Robin Nieto
    (416) 591-5455 x 490