Letter: Alarm raised over Long-Term Care Minister’s response to mask question

We are all just a stroke away from living in a long-term care home ourselves

To the Expositor:

On May 4 at the regular Ontario Government daily press conference, Minister of Long Term Care (LTC) Merrilee Fullerton made a horrendous statement when responding to a question regarding the supply of N-95 masks to LTC facility staff. She clearly said that it was okay for LTC nursing staff to look after COVID-19 patients with just surgical masks. This just further proves this woman’s ignorance and the fact that she is putting LTC workers’ lives at risk by giving this completely false information to nursing homes! It is my sincere hope that no healthcare staff is ever instructed by the management of homes to be exposed to COVID-19 patients without full personal protective equipment (PPE) and N-95 masks; for a worker to do this is paramount to “employment suicide!”

Now that the immensity of the LTC crisis in Ontario that has been present for many years has been completely opened up to the public, it is my hope that public outrage will force the government to make all the necessary improvements and changes to fix the broken LTC sector, post COVID-19! I hope we will see both family and worker organizations form up to keep the public informed regarding LTC homes in their area and to ensure the accountability and transparency of administrators and management of these homes to ensure residents receive the proper amount of care that they have for so long deserved.

I, like many others, have been advocating for LTC residents and workers for years now and am saddened that it has taken this terrible tragedy in LTC to finally make the public see the reality and the truth!

One segment of my advocacy work was using this particular media to deliver very important information and facts of the issue. In saying that, this particular media has recently become quite challenging and frankly very frustrating to work with so I have decided that I will no longer be using it to express facts or opinion on any issue. Today, with the vast ever-reaching social media outlets information can be given to so many so quickly and with the very minimal of content restrictions while keeping information much more clear and within the bounds of reality.

In closing I would say to the public that you now have a solid basis on which to force government to do what they have already promised to do, to fix our broken LTC sector properly, once and for all!

For those out there who may still not really care, maybe you should think about an old and wise quotation: “There but for the grace of God, go I.” Today you are living a perfectly normal life, tomorrow you have a massive stroke, two months later, wham, you are laying in a nursing home. Sorry, now it is too late to care!

Thank you,

Greg Young

Wiikwemkoong