Jul 22, 2020

By Christine Ross

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Staff describe it as heartbreaking. The Ontario Health Coalition released the results of a survey Wednesday of more than 150 long-term care employees about staffing and care levels.

95 percent report homes are short staffed and more than half say the levels are worse now than before the pandemic hit. As a result, the coalition says staff have been denied vacation, stat holidays and weekends and many have left due to fear, injuries and lack of childcare.

The Zoomer Advocacy group CARP calls a new report on long term care ‘disturbing.” Chief policy officer Marissa Lennox says they’ve repeatedly been calling for better wages and full time hours for employees.

“CARP has repeatedly called for minimum staffing levels and we’re urging the government to finally commit to a fair minimum standard of care,” says Lennox.

“We need a strategy to not only attract talent to this line of work but to retain talent and that must include better wages, full time hours, education and training and ensuring a health work environment.”

When asked about the deeply troubling report, Health Minister Christine Elliott says her government is addressing it.

“We still have hospital staff running at least 11 long term care homes but eventually they will need to leave and so the health human resources piece if very important particularly as it relates to personal support workers and so we are addressing that with a strategy,” said Elliott.

The report contains heartbreaking stories of residents receiving little to no emotional support and no daily hygiene. The Coalition warns that Ontario’s long-term care homes are not ready for a second wave.

Read the report here

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