Manitoulin Lodge asks community to participate in provincial advocacy letter writing campaign

GORE BAY—The Manitoulin Lodge Nursing Home in Gore Bay is hoping that members of the local community will take part in the Ontario Long Term Care Association (OLTCA) advocacy program calling for immediate investments by the province to, among other things, add more beds and hire more front-line staff in Ontario long term care homes.

“The Manitoulin Lodge is taking part in the Better Seniors Care campaign and reminds the government of what the key priorities and needs are in terms of long term care, and to keep these issues front and centre in the government’s minds,” stated Gloria Hall, of the Manitoulin Lodge Nursing Home, last Friday. “There is still a lot of support needed for long term care homes.”

Ms. Hall pointed out, “there are four causes that the campaign is bringing forward: the need for more long-term care beds; the need for more front line staff to provide care; the need for more homes to be renovated or rebuilt (which includes the need for more funding resources to be provided by the province); and the need for more better care behavioural and dementia supports in every home.”

“Despite the significant growth in the acuity of long-term care residents, investments supporting the hiring of additional skilled long term care staff have not changed in the last five years,” the OLTCA says. “The stable two percent investment is welcome, but it remains just enough to match with inflation. As such, it only addresses inflation associated with the current contracts for personal support workers (PSWs), nurses and other long-term care staff.”

“There is a growing demand for service throughout Ontario’s long-term care sector. The waitlist for care has grown by 8,000 since 2015, reaching 32,000 individuals as of June, and continues to grow at a rate of 15 percent per year,” pointed out Ms. Hall. She explained that most, if not all of these seniors are being cared for at home or in hospital (in an ALC bed) while waiting for placement. These are not suitable places for seniors who require the specialized care and support that long-term care homes offer. If there are no new beds added to the system, the waitlist could grow to over 84,000 seniors in the next 10 years. Long term care homes need to be provided with the necessary resources to redevelop.

This demand and capacity issue is resulting in increased wait times for long-term care and over-capacity hospitals throughout Ontario’s health care system. It’s a poor use of valuable tax dollars (it costs over $750 per day to care for a senior in hospital versus $175 per day in a long-term care home) and increases strain and emotional stress on family caregivers, the OLTCA notes.

“We Need Your Help” Better Seniors Care is a letter that Manitoulin Lodge has released that it is encouraging everyone to fill out, in person or online. It reads, “it is that time of year to remind our  government of concerns facing long term care. If you have access to the Internet please go to BetterSeniorsCare.ca and click on ‘take action’ and follow the directions. Make sure to fill out the facility name ‘Manitoulin Lodge.’ We are in a contest and the homes with the most letters win monetary prizes.”

If you do not have access to a computer, you can fill out a letter at the Lodge and return it to Gloria Hall. “We will submit the letters on your behalf. You can list as many names as you can as long as you have their permission.”

In the letter it is noted that long term care homes need, more beds, need for more front line staff, need for homes to be renovated or rebuilt, and the need for more dementia supports in long term homes.

“We are in a provincial contest again this year, and the more people who sign and send in letters the more change we could win,” said Ms. Hall. “Last year our community sent in almost 1,000 letters,” said Ms. Hall. “We took the first place prize in our category, and received a $700 prize-that our resident council decided would go toward the Angel Bus operations.”

“We need everyone’s help,” said Ms. Hall. “And everyone is effected by long term care, through work, living in a long term care facility or knowing someone who is involved in or lives in a long term care nursing home.”

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