The NDP and Official Opposition leader Andrea Horwath are calling for immediate action on staffing and inspections at long-term care facilities.
Horwath is directly calling on the Ford government to “act immediately to address problems in long-term care homes that can be fixed today — like staffing up ahead of a possible second wave of COVID-19.”
The NDP says the province’s recently introduced “recovery legislation” for long-term care completely ignores critical issues in long-term care, including quality of care and staff wages.
“Long-term care workers like PSWs were run off their feet before the pandemic struck,” says Horwath. “Now, as hospital resources and the military leave, they’re going to be even more short-handed as they struggle to provide seniors with the care they want to. Not enough staff in long-term care means seniors don’t get the basic hands-on care they need, like help with daily hygiene, or even help eating and drinking.”
To date, COVID-19 has claimed the lives of more than 1,830 residents and staff in long-term care in Ontario, and infected thousands more.
Horwath and the Official Opposition New Democrats are calling on the government to immediately:
- Create a hiring and retention fund to bring thousands of new PSWs into long-term care
- Establish a minimum staffing requirement to ensure seniors get at least four hours of hands on care per day
- Raise wages for all PSWs
- Mandate that health care workers, including PSWs, are offered full-time jobs with benefits so they don’t have to work three different part-time jobs
- Guarantee a bare minimum of one comprehensive resident quality inspection per year – not just incident or complaint checks
- Require air conditioning in every resident room
“The NDP will keep fighting for an independent, find-and-fix public judicial inquiry into long-term care, but we can’t afford to wait to fix the problems we all know are hurting our parents and grandparents right now,” adds Horwath. “We should be doing what we can now to make life better and safer for seniors and the people who care for them, not sleepwalking into a second wave of COVID-19 no better prepared than we were the first time around.”