TORONTO, ON Care and nursing staff who have for over a decade called for legislated, higher care levels for Ontario’s 80,000 long-term care residents, are urging Ontario MPPs to put “partisanship” aside and support a private members Bill introduced yesterday for a daily care standard of at least four hours, that they say will provide residents care with dignity.

“It’s the right thing to do. We’re urging all MPPs to come together, put aside partisan politics and vote in support of this Bill because there is broad public support for a legislated care standard for nursing home residents and because they deserve a higher quality of care,” says Candace Rennick, CUPE Ontario secretary-treasurer and a long-term care worker for nearly 20 years.

Bill 188, the Time to Care Act (Long-Term Care Homes Amendment, Minimum Standard of Daily Care), 2016 tabled by the NDP would amend the Long-Term Care Homes Act, 2007 so that a long-term care home will have to provide its residents with at least four hours a day of nursing and personal support services.

Nursing home residents are a highly vulnerable, aging and frail population with an increasing number diagnosed with cognitive impairments, dementia and Alzheimer’s disease. There is widespread consensus and mounting research evidence that residents need a higher level of care than they are currently getting.

In a recent study Promising Practices in Long-Term Care: Ideas Worth Sharing, researchers Donna Baines and Pat Armstrong, say that they “saw plenty of evidence to support the conclusion that direct care staffing should be set at a minimum of 4.1 hours per resident per day.”

“We know from speaking to residents, their families and in communities across this province that there is considerable and broad public support for a legislated four hour care standard. This is an issue that touches many families including my own. I have never heard anyone say that they didn’t support higher care levels for nursing home residents. MPPs of all stripes should support this Bill. To do otherwise is irresponsible and heartless,” says Rennick.

CUPE personal support workers (PSWs), registered practical nurses (RPNs), dietary aides and other front line long-term care staff have worked extremely hard, doing considerable community outreach and building momentum and support for this legislation, says Rennick. “I want to thank each and every one of them for their diligence and heartfelt personal and often painful stories. They told about what it’s like for them to know they are not able to give the kind of care to residents that they want to, because they don’t have the time to do it. To know residents are becoming incontinent because there is not enough staff to help them to the toilet is very difficult for them.”

CUPE PSWs, RPNs and other long-term care staff will be at Queen’s Park on May 4, meeting MPPs and asking them to support a four hour care standard for residents. Dr. Armstrong a York University professor and a research leader in the field of “best-practices” in long-term care will be speaking at a special forum for MPPs at 8 a.m. on May 4 in the Queen’s Park Legislative dining room.

For more information, please contact:

Candace Rennick
CUPE Ontario Secretary-Treasurer

Stella Yeadon
CUPE Communications