You may have already heard about the heartbreaking report on the state of long term care in Ontario that was released today. It details the horrible conditions our seniors have had to endure in five different privately owned homes. The report was written by Canadian Armed Forces members who were deployed to the five long term care facilities with the worst outbreaks and was forwarded to the Government of Ontario.
The conditions and treatment of seniors revealed in this report are outrageous, horrifying and saddening. It included such awful items as:
- Reusing needles and catheters to save money
- Rotten food, cockroaches
- Seniors left without a bath for weeks
- Seniors left in soiled incontinence products, calling for help
You can read the whole report here.
It’s heartbreaking to think about the conditions these seniors are living in, and the anguish and fear their loved ones must feel when they hear about this report.
Thank you to the members of the Canadian Armed Forces who have shone a light on this in order to protect seniors.
The sad reality is that what we learned today about long term care is not new and not limited to the five homes. While COVID-19 has exposed the problems in long term care, they are a result of years and years of mismanagement and health care workers have been ringing the alarm on this for years. The Ontario Health Coalition has been releasing major reports annually on the state of long-term care in Ontario and last May, Sharleen Stewart, President of SEIU joined nurses and PSWs at Queen’s Park to call on this government to fix our broken long term care system. Since then, nothing has changed. In fact, Ontario conducted only nine resident quality inspections of long term facilities over the past year out of 626 facilities!
We cannot allow Premier Ford to simply express outrage about what his own government is failing to do on his watch. We need to see action now to avoid future tragedy. This means:
- proactive inspections of all homes
- takeovers of homes that are not safe
- a full, transparent public inquiry
The Advocacy Centre for the Elderly says a full inquiry is necessary and the Ontario Hospital Association has called for an inquiry to start immediately, with a broad scope to examine the complexity of care for frail seniors. Without this kind of accountability, our seniors will not see justice.
There are of course immediate steps that need to be taken as well. The Ontario Health Coalition has compiled a detailed list. Please find them below.
I encourage you to join me on Thursday evening from 6:00 to 7:00 p.m. when I will host a virtual conversation on Long Term Care. I will be joined by Sharleen Stewart, President of SEIU representing 60,000 health care workers, Tsering Lhamo, a local Personal Support Worker and Denise Schon, Chair of the family council at Lakeside LTC on Dunn Avenue. You can RSVP here. If you’ve got a question, please submit them here this evening.
As always, wash your hands, stay home if you can, wear a mask when needed, be kind. We are all in this together.