OTTAWA – Health care workers from Ottawa are heading to Queen’s Park on Thursday (October 1, 2015). They are among hundreds of people from across Ontario – many of them long-term care (LTC) staff – boarding buses early in the morning from their communities to take part in the ceremony of remembrance in downtown Toronto, in memory of 29 long-term care residents killed as a result of violence by another resident in Ontario nursing homes since 2001.
2015 marks the 10-year anniversary of the Casa Verde Inquest into the tragic deaths (in 2001) of two long-term care residents at that home. A minimum care standard for residents and improved staffing levels in long-term care homes are among the inquest jury’s 85 recommendations that have never been implemented by the Ontario government.
The memorial event is organized by the Ontario Health Coalition (OHC) to coincide with the International Day of Older Persons includes both a memorial procession and memorial ceremony. Participants will gather at 10:30 a.m. at Gerrard Street and University Ave. to begin a solemn procession north to Queen’s Park. The procession will carry 10 wreaths in recognition of the 10-year anniversary of the Casa Verde inquest.
At the memorial ceremony (front lawn of Queen’s Park) wreaths representing the 29 residents killed in long-term care homes since 2001, will be presented. Those taking part are bringing pink carnations to the memorial as a symbol of hope that the province will act and legislate a four-hour daily care standard to make living in a long-term home safer for residents.
When first elected in 2003 the Liberal government promised to legislative a minimum daily care standard for long-term care residents. Not only have the Liberals failed to deliver on that promise, but today many stakeholders from the LTC sector agree, provincial funding is too low to provide adequate care for residents with complex conditions, including dementia and long-term care homes are making significant cuts to care, programs and staff. According to national health data, care and staffing levels in Ontario nursing homes are lower than the Canadian average.
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