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ORILLIA, ON As Ontario Provincial Police (OPP) investigate an Orillia nursing home resident’s tragic death earlier this summer, advocates for safer long-term care (LTC) are holding a media conference Thursday to urge Simcoe North provincial by-election candidates to commit to make LTC homes safer for residents.

Organized by the Canadian Union of Public Employees (CUPE) Ontario and the Family Council Network 4 Advocacy Committee, the media conference is slated for August 27 at 12:30 p.m. at the Royal Canadian Legion, 215 Mississauga Street East, Orillia. The groups have worked together for several years advocating for changes to long-term care legislation such as a four-hour daily care standard for residents and increased staffing levels. Two policy shifts, that experts believe would improve resident safety and care quality.

“We are asking for the very same things that successive coroners’ inquests have recommended (in their jury findings). That’s to keep residents safer and better cared for. We believe the local provincial by-election candidates have a responsibility to the community and, in particular to the hundreds of area nursing home residents and their families, to commit to change the law and make a four-hour daily care standard mandatory in our province,” says Kelly O’Sullivan chair of CUPE Ontario’s health care workers’ group.

The health care needs of ageing baby boomers is top of mind for many Ontario and Simcoe North families. Perhaps even more so in Simcoe, because of its higher percentage of residents aged 65 and over and a relatively low proportion of young adults. Simcoe has also experienced higher population growth and hospitalizations than the provincial average.

However, in her recent campaign pit-stop in Orillia at seniors’ roundtables, “our Premier made little mention of the increasing care needs of residents in long-term care, the majority of who have some form of cognitive and/or physical impairment or those of us, who will need (in the future) the kind of higher level care that’s only available at a long-term care home,” says O’Sullivan.

Still in the beginning stage, the OPP investigation is focused on the circumstances surrounding the death on July 25 of an 88-year-old female resident of an Orillia LTC residence, assaulted in May by another female residing at the home.

Resident-on-resident violence is regrettably, an all too common occurrence in long-term care, says Tom Carrothers with the Family Network 4 Advocacy Committee. “With a four-hour care standard and the increased care levels that would bring, residents will be safer and better cared for. The Simcoe North candidates must make this a priority.”

On October 1, CUPE Ontario and the Family Council Network 4 Advocacy Committee will be joining an Ontario Health Coalition ceremony at Queen’s Park in memory of those long-term care residents who have been killed by other residents.

For more information about the Time to Care campaign to make a four-hour daily care standard for long-term care residents the law, please use this link:  www.timetocareontario.ca.

For more information, please contact:

Stella Yeadon
CUPE Communications