GUELPH, ONTARIO--(Marketwire - Feb. 29, 2012) - 85,000 residents in long-term care (LTC) homes and another 24,000 frail seniors on a waitlist for a nursing home bed will be adversely affected should Ontario's health minister move forward on proposed cuts to health care funding, said direct care LTC staff at a Guelph media conference today.
They urged action on a Liberal promise from 2003 to enact a minimum care standard for LTC residents and to say no to proposals being floated by the Drummond Commission which include no growth in long-term care capacity and a severe funding cut for health services.
Currently there is no mandatory minimum care standard LTC homes are legislated to meet.
"Years ago the Liberals made a commitment to seniors in this province to legislate a care standard. It's time they made good on that promise," says Michael Hurley the president of the Ontario Council of Hospital Unions (OCHU) of the Canadian Union of Public Employees (CUPE).
OCHU/CUPE is advocating for a minimum standard of care of 3.5 hours of direct care per day for LTC residents.
At today's media conference front line staff Irene Fitzpatrick, 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.
"There is no dignity in assembly-line feeding. It should take as long as the resident needs to fully finish a meal. Not the six minutes scheduled," said Fitzpatrick.
In the coming weeks PSWs, dietary aides and RPNs are reaching out to their members of provincial parliament (MPP) and urging them to champion minimum 3.5 hours of care standard in the upcoming session at Queen's Park.
"It breaks my heart when residents say that they are lonely - and I want to stay and talk with them, but I can't because we don't have enough staff on the floor. MPPs must help change that by pushing for a legislated care standard," said Fitzpatrick.
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.
Nowhere in his report does Drummond assess the unmet need for long-term care, said Hurley. "Nor does he acknowledge that spending on health care has been shrinking as a share of Ontario's provincial budget. When it comes to care with dignity for seniors, Drummond is offering a dead end. It is not the 'road map' the Liberals should be following."
Visit http://www.cupe.on.ca/timetocare for more information and to view the 3.5 hours video