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CUPE says experiments with long-term care must stop

Jan 17, 2007 03:34 PM
 

TORONTO, Ont. – In a frank deputation at public hearings into the province’s proposed bill for long-term care facilities, Canadian Union of Public Employees (CUPE) Ontario President Sid Ryan today called on the government to reinstate minimum standards of care as the only way to stop experimenting with the care of our elderly and frail.

“We had this grand experiment when the Tories eliminated all sorts of standards for reporting and care of our elderly and frail in long-term care facilities,” said Ryan to members of the Standing Committee on Health. We now know that that had disastrous consequences. The level of care declined and our families and loved ones have suffered because of it.”

Ryan reminded MPPs that the Harris-Eves government eliminated a standard of care introduced by the New Democrats in the early 1990s that provided each resident in long-term care facilities with 2.25 hours of care every day. He noted that the level of care had slipped to 2.04 hours by 2000, according to a study by Price Waterhouse Coopers.

“Thirty-seven jurisdictions in North America provide for a minimum standard of care, with provinces like Alberta providing 3.5 hours of care per day to residents,” said Ryan. “As it stands right now, Bill 140 abandons the Liberal promise to re-establish care standards and compliance regimes, and that’s not good enough for our elderly and frail.”

In his deputation, Ryan also called for the bill to set out a funding model that will ensure adequate front line staffing to meet care standards, and provide the assurance to Ontarians that their tax dollars are funding front line care for residents, not increasing profits.

Along with better whistle blower protection for workers who speak out on care issues, CUPE wants the legislation to recognize that these facilities are not just homes; they are workplaces to thousands of care workers and caregivers.

“In the past five years, 3,000 incidents of violence were reported where residents assaulted staff or other residents. There has been a 10-fold increase in violence in these facilities due to age-related dementia and chronically progressive diseases. Bill 140 must set out specific amendments requiring that homes be safe and secure for both residents and staff,” adds Ryan.

“Baby boomers are headed into a future where they may someday need to enter a nursing home,” says Ryan. “It’s in all our interests to get Bill 140 right, for now and for the future.”

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For further information, contact:

Valerie Dugale, CUPE Communications 647-225-3685
Sid Ryan, President, CUPE Ontario 416-209-0066