Young woman in blue scrubs standing beside bed holding a cup of orange liquid to the mouth of an elderly woman The Wettlauer inquiry recommended this week that the government study, whether an increase in staffing levels is needed, to table that study by July 31, 2020 and increase staffing levels if that is warranted.

“CUPE asks the Ford Conservative government ensure the representatives of the residents and families of residents in long term care, and the organizations representing the staff who work in long term care, and not just the owners of the private retirement facilities are part of the design of this study. This study be conducted by a university and should look at staffing standards in developed countries with better health outcomes for the residents of long term care,” said Candace Rennick, Secretary Treasurer for CUPE Ontario.  

The United States Congress established a benchmark of a minimum of four (4) hours of personal care per day for the residents in long term care, to maintain their health status. More than four hours and you may see improvement. Less than four hours and you will see a deterioration. Ontario long term care residents receive just above two (2) hours a day.

“The Wettlauer Inquiry points the way to improving care for residents in long term care, but in March the Conservative budget cut long term care budgets in real terms and these cuts increase in severity for each of the next 5 years. These cuts will further compromise the quality of care for residents in long term care and take an over worked and exploited workforce to the brink and over it. The starting point is for the government to announce a real increase in funding for long term care,” said Michael Hurley, President of the Ontario Council of Hospital Unions. 

“The Ford Conservative government is also considering privatizing nursing home inspections. This government is much too close to the nursing home industry. They have given almost all of the new long term care beds to the private sector. Ontario already has the fewest staff to long term care residents of any province in the country. Staff working in long term care are at their breaking point,” added Heather Duff, Chair of Health Care Workers Coordinating Committee. 

CUPE is planning to mobilize their long term care members in support of increasing staffing levels in long term care. This much needed increase in staff that will not only provide residents the quality of care they need but the quality of life they deserve.