Sault Ste. Marie, ON –At a Sault Ste. Marie media conference today, FJ Davey Home residents’ families and care staff called on area MPP David Orazietti to intervene to stop cuts at the nursing home, they say will adversely affect resident care levels. Hours of nursing and personal care for frail residents have been cut. These care cuts mean:
- Personal support workers (PSWs) have considerably less time to bathe, toilet, clothe and most importantly, talk and listen to residents and respond to their needs right away when they call;
- For nursing staff dispensing medication and ensuring timely and accurate medical care for residents will be increasingly difficult;
- Already rushed, dietary aides will have to speed up even more to get food out to residents.
Environmental (cleaning) services have also been reduced. A serious concern in long-term care where fragile residents are prone to infection.
Corrado Bruni whose father has lived at FJ Davey for the last year, Canadian Union of Public Employees (CUPE) Ontario, secretary-treasurer Candace Rennick, a former nursing home worker, joined FJ Davey personal support worker (PSW) Alison Caul, at today’s media conference.
Bruni said that staff at the home do all they can to “give residents as much care time as possible. But I can see that they are too rushed to do all the things the need to in a day. There already isn’t enough nursing and personal care staff. These cuts will affect resident care. My dad worked hard all his life. I want him to have the best possible care and that’s why our MPP needs to intervene and stop these cuts to care.”
The majority of nursing home residents are over 80 years old. Many, including at FJ Davey Home are not mobile and require help with toileting and feeding. The number of nursing home residents who have cognitive impairment or dementia, is also on the rise.
Based on staffing schedules, it seems that even before the recent cuts, care levels at FJ Davey did not meet the provincial standard that the ministry of health maintains homes are funded.
“With these cuts to nursing, personal care and dietary, we are back to 1990 care levels. That’s a time when residents were mobile, were younger going into nursing homes and had less complex medical care needs. Today residents are over 80 years old and most have some form of cognitive impairment, like dementia. The care needs of residents are much higher,” said Rennick.
“We are extremely concerned that a vicious cycle is being created – the more staff they cut – the more resident care they cut – the more complaints there will be from residents’ families and the more compliance orders there will be from the ministry for the home to meet standards. There doesn’t seem to be enough yearly funding to meet the care needs and possible increasing acuity levels of residents.” She called on MPP Orazietti to “take swift action” to secure better funding for the Davey Home so the cuts to care and staffing are rescinded.
The proportion of the population age 65 and over in Sault Ste. Marie and in northeastern Ontario overall is projected to increase from 19 per cent (today) to 30 per cent by 2036. In Sault Ste. Marie, there is also a higher number of residents who do not have family – children, nieces, nephews – living in the city, anymore. They have moved away to pursue jobs in other communities.
“For many of the Davey Home residents, the staff at the nursing home, we are their only caregivers and we see them as our family. So it breaks our heart when we can’t answer a call bell in a timely way or we have to rush residents out of bed or through a meal. That’s not care with dignity,” said Caul.
CUPE represents over 400 staff at the FJ Davey Home, which is a 374 bed non-profit home. Across Ontario, CUPE represents nearly 30,000 front line nursing home staff.
For more information please contact:
Candace Rennick, CUPE Ontario Secretary-Treasurer 416-799-5109
Stella Yeadon, CUPE Communications 416-559-9300
For information about CUPE Ontario’s time to care campaign for a legislated four hour minimum care standard for nursing home residents please go to the following link: www.timetocareontario.ca