Canadian Union of Public Employees (CUPE) - Ontario

Canadian Union of Public Employees (CUPE) - Ontario

May 16, 2012 18:01 ET

Hire more staff to keep residents safe, LTC task force says

But only a legislated care standard will fully protect residents, CUPE says

TORONTO, ONTARIO--(Marketwire - May 16, 2012) - An Ontario task-force report issued today on resident care and safety in long-term care (LTC) is clear in identifying the need to hire more direct-care nursing home staff to meet the care needs of vulnerable seniors and as a key factor in preventing neglect and abuse. The Long-Term Care Task Force on Resident Care and Safety is urging the Ministry of Health and Long-Term Care (MOHLTC) directly to act and show leadership to prioritize making long-term care homes safer.

The more than 25,000 Canadian Union of Public Employees (CUPE) members who provide care and support for thousands of residents in Ontario homes "agree with the task force that resident care and safety should be the number one priority in long-term care homes, and that more staff should be hired to meet the needs of residents. This is why, for more than a decade, we have been calling for a legislated minimum care standard tied to resident care needs," says Fred Hahn, president of CUPE Ontario. "Perhaps now the government will finally listen."

The task force calls for increasing the number of full-time direct-care providers (registered practical nurses, personal support workers and health care aides) and improved training and increased supports for staff. The report also says that workload is one of the top factors leading to abuse and neglect in long-term care homes. Hiring more staff will ease workload and allow staff to provide better care to residents.

"While the task force recommendations strengthen the call for additional hours of care, many believe that the best way to ensure that residents receive the care they need is for the province to enact a regulatory care standard. Hands-on care levels for residents should not be left to the whims of individual nursing home managers," says Hahn.

A recent report by the Ombudsperson in British Columbia makes a clear recommendation to legislate a care standard in that province.

"That's what our province should be doing," says Hahn.

The only way to ensure that residents are toileted when necessary, are given enough time to eat and are treated with dignity is "if there is sufficient staff to do so for each and every resident," says Candace Rennick, CUPE Ontario secretary-treasurer and a former long-term care sector worker. While the task force clearly recognizes this, adds Rennick, "they needed to go one step further and recommend a legislated standard of care."

Of the nearly 3,000 incidents of abuse, the report indicates that in nearly two-thirds of cases the abuser is a resident. To better protect residents from this type of abuse, Rennick says "having staff on each unit will reduce its likelihood and at the very least lessen the severity."

Contact Information

  • CUPE Ontario
    Fred Hahn
    (416) 540-3979

    CUPE Ontario
    Candace Rennick
    (705) 768-2288

    CUPE Communications
    Stella Yeadon
    (416) 559-9300