Manitoulin Lodge Family Council to meet with MPP France Gelinas on long-term care funding concerns

GORE BAY—With Ontario ranking ninth out of 10 provinces in Canada in terms of per capita funding allocated to long term care and needs not being met due to these funding shortfalls, the Manitoulin Lodge Family Council is hosting a roundtable discussion about long-term care with MPP France Gelinas, health critic for the New Democrat Party.

“On May 23 we will have Ms. Gelinas here, as well as our MPP Michael Mantha to have a roundtable discussion and explain how the needs of the Lodge, and long term care in general in the province, are not being met,” said Linda Willson, chair of the family council of the Manitoulin Lodge.

“In the 2008 provincial budget the McGuinty government promised that the hours of care per resident would go from 2.5 hours per day to four hours per day to care for the elderly,” said Ms. Willson, pointing out, “This hasn’t been done. In fact, the province cut this back to 2.4 hours of care per day as of last week.”

The Lodge also has drafted a petition, “asking the province to put four hours of care per day to each resident in effect immediately, and have this increased to five hours by 2015,” said Ms. Willson.

“The other part of the petition is the development of a licencing body that would provide registration, accreditation and certification for all personal support workers in the province,” continued Ms. Willson. “The PSWs are overworked, and this licencing body would be able to overlook the entire system and make the changes needed. The PSWs would also be better trained and supported, and would be doing their work in better job conditions.”

“When my mom was ill I was in the nursing home every day and I could see the PSWs are very hard working, dedicated personnel, even though they are the lowest paid employees but the hardest workers,” said Ms. Willson. “They are on the front line, and they need more support.”

In the petition to the Legislative Assembly of Ontario it is stated, “Ontario ranks 9th out of 10 provinces in terms of the total per capita funding allocated to long term care. The Ontario Ministry of Health and Long Term Care data shows that there are more than 30,000 people in Ontario waiting for long-term care placements and wait times have tripled since 2005. There is a perpetual shortage of staff in long term care facilities and residents often wait an unreasonable length of time to receive care (e.g. to be attended to for toileting needs, to be fed, to receive a bath or for pain medication).”

The petition continues, “since 2008, funding for 2.8 paid hours of care per resident per day has been provided In that budget year, a promise was made to increase this funding to four hours per resident per day by 2012. This has not been done, and the personal support worker program has no provincial governing body that would provide provincials standards and regulations to assure the best care for residents who are being admitted with higher physical, psychological and emotional needs. Currently, training across the province is varied, inconsistent and insufficient.”

“We, the undersigned, petition the Legislative Assembly of Ontario to 1. immediately increase the number of paid hours of nursing and personal care per resident per day to four hours (as promised in 2008); 2. develop a plan to phase in future increases so that the number of paid hours per resident per day of nursing and personal care is five hours by January, 2015; 3. establish a licencing body, such as a college, that will provide registration, accreditation and certification for all personal support workers in the province.”

“We’re hoping to get 1,000 signatures on the petition, which will be presented at the meeting,” said Ms. Willson. She pointed out the petitions will be available at the Mindemoya Health Centre, M’Chigeeng Health Centre, and Little Current hospitals, the Gore Bay Medical Centre, the two Gore Bay pharmacies, and the nursing home in Gore Bay.

“We are hoping to have a good turnout at the round-table discussion to show we are serious about the need for changes in long term care,” said Ms. Willson.

The round table discussion about long term care will feature Ms. Gelinas, as well as Algoma-Manitoulin MPP Michael Mantha, Lodge representatives Debbie Wright and Gloria Hall, and will be taking place at Manitoulin Lodge on Thursday, May 23, at 6:30 pm.

Tom Sasvari