LETTERS: Province continues the practice of underfunding long-term care

A call to action demanding an appropriate minimum standard of care

To the Expositor;

Along with many Ontarians, on Friday, February 1 I watched, with much concern, CBC News: Marketplace’s airing of ‘Understaffed and Overworked’ together with Marketplace’s Q&A session ‘Improving care in nursing homes.’

I am a retired PSW (personal support worker) of 30 years, 24 of those working on the nursing floor of a long term care (LTC) facility. Although retired, as a PSW I remain a strong and vocal advocate for both LTC residents (patients) and LTC workers.

The Ontario provincial government (from the Mike Harris Conservative government, through the McGuinty and Wynne Liberal governments, to the present-day Ford Conservative government) continues to grossly underfund the LTC sector and continues to refuse (on the advice of many experts in LTC) to initiate a ministry standard of care to improve the extremely low PSW-to-resident ratio that has caused the worst LTC crisis in Ontario history.

For those who have never worked on the nursing floor in an Ontario LTC facility I think these two Marketplace episodes really opened some eyes. The Q&A session was extremely informative and made all the better as a lot of the questions were answered by Miranda Ferrier, a veteran PSW herself and now the president of the Ontario Personal Support Workers Association. She is someone who actually knows the reality of LTC in Ontario and who answered hard questions with hard answers.

The LTC crisis in our province has gone on for many years, negatively affecting the lives of thousands and thousands of the province’s most vulnerable, their families and the LTC workers who really try to do their absolute best under very difficult circumstances.

I say enough is enough. There has been countless complaints and continued conversation about the crisis; there has been blame directed totally against LTC workers and there has been many specials on CTV W5, CBC News Marketplace and throughout the media in general and absolutely nothing has been accomplished to improve and stop this crisis! 

If you were watching last night, Miranda Ferrier was asked ‘How can this crisis be stopped?’ Her answer: only one way. By the power of the people!

Enough is enough. It’s time! Take action and take action now! Call, write or email: Christine Elliot, Minister of Health and Long Term Care, and demand that legislation be initiated immediately to develop an appropriate minimum standard of care for all Ontario LTC facilities that will directly raise the PSW-to-resident ratio to adequate numbers.

France Gelinas, opposition health critic’s proposed “Time to Care Act” suggests provincial funding for four hours of PSW care per resident per 24 hiurs to provide LTC residents with the proper hands-on nursing care they need and they deserve!

Ontario Ministry of Health and Long Term Care

ATT: Christine Elliot, Minister 

Hepburn Block, 10th Floor,

80 Grosvenor Street,

Toronto, Ontario,

M7A 2C4

PH: 1-416-327-4300

FAX: 1-416-326-1571

EMAIL: christine.elliot@pc.org

Alternative contact:

Heather Watt, Chief of Staff, Ministry of Health and Long Term care.

h.watt@ontario.ca 

It’s up to you!

Thank you.

Sincerely,

Greg Young

Wiikwemkoong

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