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Campaign to stop older persons from being pushed out of Ontario hospitals while acutely ill to make stops in Ottawa, Carleton Place and Almonte on January 17.

OTTAWA ― Representatives of the Ontario Association of Speech Language Pathologists and Audiologists (OSLA) and the Ontario Council of Hospital Unions (OCHU) will be in Ottawa, Almonte and Carleton Place on Tuesday, January 17. They will be advocating for elderly patients who are being pushed out of hospital while acutely ill or denied acute care services they need.

Patients are not getting appropriate access to services like speech language pathology (for assistance with swallowing and speech) following a stroke because they are discharged earlier than they should be, without treatment and the appropriate follow-up.

Patients who have had strokes face long waits for access to professional care, to assist them with swallowing and speaking following the closure of many hospital speech language pathology programmes. These delays are cruel and unnecessary in a province with our resources”, says OSLA executive director Mary Cook.

Ontario has the fewest number of acute hospital beds to population of any developed economy in the world. Ontario’s hospital occupancy rate of 97.9 per cent results in many patients, primarily older persons, being discharged prematurely some to unregulated retirement homes, sometimes with deadly consequences.

Many family members have experienced enormous pressure to move their mothers or fathers out of hospital, while that parent is still acutely ill,” says Michael Hurley, the president of OCHU, the hospital division of the Canadian Union of Public Employees (CUPE) in Ontario. “We believe that older persons are being discriminated against in our hospital system to accommodate chronic acute care bed shortages. The generation that fought World War II deserves much better treatment than they are receiving.”

A hotline has been established for patients or their family members to call to report their experiences. The hotline number is 1-888-599-0770. A report will be released before the March 2012 Ontario budget.

Media conference details for Tuesday January 17, 2012:

10:00 a.m. – 11:00 a.m.  
Royal Canadian Legion, Montgomery Branch 351, 330 Kent St., Ottawa

2:00 p.m. – 3:00 p.m.      
Royal Canadian Legion, Branch 192, 177 George St., Carleton Place

4:00 p.m. – 5:00 p.m.      
Almonte Civitan Community Hall, 500 Almonte St., Almonte

For more information please contact:                                                                        

Mary Cook
Executive Director, Ontario Association of Speech Language Pathologists and Audiologists 

Michael Hurley
President, Ontario Council of Hospital Unions (OCHU/CUPE

Marc Lafrance
Francophone Vice-President, Ontario Council of Hospital Unions/CUPE   

Stella Yeadon
CUPE Communications