Putting resident care quality first and keeping Cassellholme, the sole municipally-operated long-term care home in Nipissing in public hands, “is the best choice for the community. Kudos to the Cassellholme board for making the right decision to keep this valuable community asset public,” said the Canadian Union of Public Employees (CUPE).
CUPE’s comments follow reports in the media that Cassellholme’s board will recommend maintaining municipal control of Cassellholme and not moving to a private, non-profit model for the home.
For nearly a year, many in the Nipissing community including CUPE have urged area municipalities and the Cassellholme board to keep the home in public hands. Along with Carleton University professor Susan Braedley a researcher on several international studies on long-term care and healthy aging studies, CUPE presented area councillors and the Cassellholme board with research evidence that strongly supports maintaining public municipal control of Cassellholme.
“All the respected research shows municipal delivery provides nursing home residents with better quality care. What’s more we know that it’s better for the health system all-around because fewer residents from publicly-owned long-term care homes wind up in hospital or the emergency department,” said Henri Giroux the president of CUPE 146 representing many of Cassellholme’s front line staff.
In his public comments Cassellholme board chair (and North Bay councillor) Chris Mayne said they had “been unable to come up with a business plan that maintains client care” without the contribution of member municipalities. Further Mayne said, managers “crunched the numbers” and are not comfortable that client care won’t be affected under a not-for-profit model.
“We believe the conclusion the Cassellholme board has come to, that resident care would be compromised under a private, non-profit model is what the evidence tells us. Publicly owned long-term care homes do best on quality indicators. Residents benefit from additional care which is rightly supported by the financial contributions of municipalities. Under a non-profit operation, Cassellholme would be relying on woefully inadequate provincial funding for long-term care which would indeed affect resident care quality. We commend the board for this important decision,” said CUPE Ontario president Fred Hahn.
Giroux and Hahn encouraged the Cassellholme board to join the many front line staff and resident family members who, along with CUPE, are advocating for increased resident care, staffing and funding levels for long-term care. They also thanked the thousands in the community who signed petitions to “keep Cassellholme public” and those CUPE 146 members who worked diligently to spread the word in the community, “that a municipally-operated Cassellholme is best for everyone in Nipissing.”