The Ontario Health Coalition says there's a crisis affecting long-term care homes across the province.
A new report, based on feedback from round-table meetings held across Ontario, examined key issues affecting nursing homes, staff and residents.
Sarnia-Lambton Health Coalition Chair Shirley Roebuck said some of the main concerns voiced by both personal support workers (PSW) and administrators was inadequate staffing, lack of full-time jobs and lack of education to deal with complex patients.
"We noted so much frustration and even desperation in the way that PSWs spoke about their inability to provide good care to residents of nursing homes -- they wanted to give proper care but there wasn't time because they were just simply overworked."
The report, along with a list of 10 recommendations, has been forwarded to the province.
Coalition Executive Director Natalie Mehra said one recommendation is the implementation of a minimum care standard.
"More funding and funding that actually goes to care and long-term care homes to improve the wages and working conditions for PSWs. We recommended that either tuition be free or subsidized for PSW colleges, and that there be a review and provincial standards for the course," said Mehra. "This is fundamental, this is what we're talking about when we call for a legislative change to require four hours of hands-on care per resident per day. If you put your child into daycare, there's a staff ratio where you can't have more than four children per staff member -- there's nothing like that at long-term care homes."
Sarnia-Lambton MPP Bob Bailey acknowledges long term health care is an issue.
He said spending on long-term care this year alone is up $72 million.
"In our last budget we invested, over 10 years, $1.75 billion, almost $2 billion, to build 15,000 news beds and to redevelop another 15,000," said Bailey. "The financial accountability officer said that between 2011 and 2018 the number of long-term care beds in Ontario grew by less than one per cent, while the population of Ontarians aged 75 and over grew by 20 per cent."
Bailey said for the past year-and-a-half, the provincial government has been moving and working on long-term care.
"In the province, we dedicated a ministry alone for long-term care, so we separated that out of the ministry of health, so Minister Merrilee Fullerton is in charge of the long-term care system, so I think that's an acknowledgement that there is an issue and we recognize that and have tried to address it."