Not-for-profits are a necessity in long term care facilities

To the Expositor:

When I read the letter on quality of life in nursing homes written by Petra Wall last week (‘The time to act on quality of life issues in nursing homes is now,’ September 14, Page 5), it brought to surface many issues that are of great concern to me also—real issues that should definitely be a concern to many readers, especially the baby boomer generation that will be in need of the services of long term care facilities.

I have the privilege to visit my mother daily from early morning until after lunch. The personal support workers start work at 7 am and have to help nine to 11 residents get ready for breakfast before 8:30 am. This is an average of 8 to 10 minutes with each resident. I wash and dress my mother every morning and I can’t do it any faster than 20 minutes. Even though some residents dress themselves, two PSWs are required to assist those that need a lift. I’ve seen it. These girls run, and believe me, they run. Keep in mind that some are better workers than others, so you can imagine why some residents don’t even get their hair combed or why their clothes are all mismatched.

I know first hand that they need double the PSWs to care for these seniors who have given so much to society. They founded and paved the roads for what we now enjoy and take for granted.

Did you know that often they hire unqualified people off the street to care for these residents? Don’t work out in one department, move on to the other for trial, and voila! You’re a PSW.

I cannot emphasize enough the need to have fully qualified workers caring for our senior residents. A PSW registered with the Ontario Personal Support Worker’s Association is what I want for our seniors. Job shadowing for a few days does not cut it in my view. Our parents deserve better than that. Besides, they pay dearly to be there it doesn’t come for free. I thank my lucky stars every day when I see a good caring PSW assigned to our floor.

I really think Ms. Wall’s view on a street type showcasing shops, café’s to enjoy a pastry or even a meal with your loved one, computer stations, physiotherapy, hair salons, with street lights would be so much more welcoming. What a wonderful idea to welcome a circle of friends.

I agree with Ms. Wall that non-profit organizations are absolutely necessary in our LTC facilities. Not-for-profit organizations would focus on quality of care rather than the bottom line and bringing in a bigger profit.

If you care about how your parents, relatives and friends are cared for, voice your concerns.

Julie Leduc