Judith Monteith‑Farrell MPP, Thunder Bay–Atikokan

Government of Ontario

Monteith-Farrell says major long-term care and home care changes needed to save Thunder Bay seniors

Published on April 23, 2020

QUEEN’S PARK — NDP MPP for Thunder Bay-Atikokan Judith Monteith-Farrell is calling on the Ford government to immediately make major changes and investments in long-term care and home care to save seniors in Thunder Bay from infection with the deadly COVID-19 virus.

 

As a result of decades of chronic neglect, long-term care and home care across Ontario were already facing damaging underfunding and understaffing before the COVID-19 pandemic. Since the pandemic began, there have been dozens of outbreaks in long-term care homes across the province.

 

“Seniors and their families in Thunder Bay are terrified thinking about what will happen next,” said Monteith-Farrell. “We’ve been underfunded and understaffed in the nursing homes here in Thunder Bay for years — and we have to leap into action to save more residents today. Our vulnerable seniors need us, and we have a responsibility to protect them. We must make sure that the outbreaks spreading like wildfire in long-term care facilities across Ontario don't happen here.” 

 

The Official Opposition NDP is calling for major changes and investments, including:

 

  • Aggressively recruiting home care and long-term care staff
  • Mandate that more staff be scheduled on each shift in each long-term care home
  • Immediately increase salaries for staff to a minimum of $22/hr in order to retain and attract workers, including Personal Support Workers (PSWs) and Registered Practical Nurses (RPNs)
  • Assign each staff member to one facility only, and ensure they have full-time hours, to eliminate the potential for staff to transmit COVID-19 to other facilities, ending all exceptions
  • Standardize visitor policies province-wide to prevent COVID-19 transmission from visitors and volunteers, seeking Public Health determination on the safest policy
  • Mandate that home care workers wear personal protective equipment —  including gloves and a mask based on the precautionary principle — for every home visit, to avoid transmission from one vulnerable client to another, and mandate long-term care staff wear PPE any time they’re with residents
  • Create a caregiver fund to support families that choose to care for their loved one at home.

 

In 2019, several reports highlighted the under-staffing crisis in Ontario’s long-term care sector, including the “Caring in Crisis: Ontario’s Long-Term Care PSW Shortage” report (December 2019), “Breaking Point: Violence Against Long-Term Care Staff” (March 2019), and “Bloodied, Broken and Burned Out: 88% of Long-Term Care Staff Experience Violence” (March 2019).

 

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Media contact: Jodie Shupac, 416-806-9147