Dear Colleagues: Welcome to our Friday, October 30 report – now in the ninth month of COVID-19 in Ontario. Visit the COVID-19 Portal for the many resources RNAO offers on COVID-19 Find earlier update reports here, including thematic pieces in Doris’ COVID-19 Blog. RNAO media hits and releases on the pandemic can be found here. Daily Situational Reports from Ontario's MOH EOC can be found here. As always, feel free to share this report and links with anyone interested.
RNAO statement in support of Bill 13: Time to Care Act
RNAO applauds members of the Ontario legislature for acting unanimously and in the best interests of residents in long-term care (LTC) homes by voting in favour of Bill 13 on Oct. 29, 2020. RNAO fully supports and urges the government to move this bill quickly through the legislative process so it becomes law.
Please sign our Action Alert urging the government to move fast with #TimeToCareAct #BasicCareGuarantee
2S-LGBTQ+ Seniors: Our Existence is Our Resistance!
We are grateful to the Senior Pride Network Toronto for their tremendously important contribution – below – calling to recognize the human rights of older 2-spirit, lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, transsexual, queer and intersex (2S-LGBTQ+) people in the City of Toronto, in particular those who reside in a long-term care home. We hear the call of the authors that the first step is to acknowledge the existence of people who have been discriminated and ignored and consequently have suffered the health impacts of that neglect. We hope this article makes a small contribution to that goal. The surveys mentioned in the article can be found here and here.
For our 2S-LGBTQ+ seniors, the COVID-19 pandemic is a cruel reminder that the long-term care (LTC) system in Ontario is neglectful of, or unresponsive to, our particular health issues, needs and concerns. Sadly, 2S-LGBTQ+ seniors are mostly invisible in LTC homes. Many homes claim to not have any 2S-LGBTQ+ residents. And data are unavailable on the number of 2S-LGBTQ+ residents, the number who contracted COVID-19 or those who died after contracting it. The measures and care protocols adopted to respond to COVID-19 generally do not acknowledge the existence of 2S-LGBTQ+ residents and do not consider the particular vulnerabilities, inter-related health issues and particular care needs of 2S-LGBTQ+ seniors.
As older persons and those with chronic health conditions or weakened immune systems, 2S-LGBTQ+ seniors who contract COVID-19 are at higher risk of developing more severe illness and complications, and of dying from it. Recent national surveys have found that 2S-LGBTQ+ people are more vulnerable to COVID-19 than other persons. Specifically,
Research studies have shown that our 2S-LGBTQ+ populations are at greater risk of developing cardiovascular disease, cancers, kidney and liver diseases, HIV/AIDS and related co-morbidities, and respiratory diseases such as asthma. Caregivers in LTC homes need to be knowledgeable about underlying medical conditions and co-morbidities, their causes and their effects on 2S-LGBTQ+ seniors, and in particular on those who contracted COVID-19.
In addition, 2S-LGBTQ+ residents experience anxiety and worry about LTC staff. The staff, with few exceptions, are untrained, little-trained or ill-trained in these residents’ specific care issues and needs. 2S-LGBTQ+ residents also often experience, or have a fear of experiencing, discrimination, harassment and abuse (physical or verbal) in LTC homes. LTC staff may be uncomfortable with 2S-LGBTQ+ people or have biases or negative attitudes (including homophobia, transphobia and biphobia). These fears and concerns are intensified during COVID-19 outbreaks.
Many 2S-LGBTQ+ seniors are already socially isolated before moving into LTC homes. We have experienced rejection or denial by our biological families and are less likely to be in a spousal relationship or to have children or other “blood relatives” on whom we may rely for social and emotional support and care. Our biggest fear is dying alone and forgotten once we become residents of LTC.
In order to reduce social isolation and build personal support networks, 2S-LGBTQ+ seniors increasingly rely on our chosen families (surrogate, non-biological) or a circle of friends (e.g. partners, close friends, caregivers). However, we often discover that our relationships and chosen families are not recognized or respected by their LTC home.
Strict social distancing protocols and restrictions on visitors imposed during outbreaks of COVID-19 in LTC homes cause even greater social isolation for 2S-LGBTQ+ residents. As a result, we experience greater loneliness, depression, despair and a deterioration in our physical health and general well-being. To mitigate social isolation and provide emotional and social support for us, LTC homes must be required to recognize and respect 2S-LGBTQ+ spousal relationships, chosen family members and support networks for visitation and for providing essential care.
Critical improvements are required urgently to ensure that LTC homes are sensitive to and inclusive of the needs, care preferences, and life experiences of 2S-LGBTQ+ seniors. There is a pressing need to integrate awareness and inclusivity of 2S-LGBTQ+ seniors, and respect for them, in the LTC system and in the system’s response to COVID-19.
Ontario Senior Pride, an ad hoc coalition of The Senior Pride Network Toronto and six other Ontario groups, has made a submission to Ontario’s Long-Term Care COVID-19 Commission that addresses the many problems confronting 2S-LGBTQ+ seniors. It makes 14 recommendations to the Commission and the Ontario Government that when implemented would help to make the LTC system more inclusive of 2S-LGBTQ+ seniors and more responsive to our needs.
We expect ALL LTC homes, service providers and levels of government in Ontario and Canada to acknowledge our existence. This simple action will improve and save our lives. We want and expect the basic human rights of kindness, caring, compassion, dignity, safety and RESPECT!
Upcoming webinars and events for November – Open to all
Cross Country Meeting: Collective Action for Long-Term Care Reform in Canada.
COVID-19 has swept through long-term care (LTC) homes, taking the lives of over 5,000 residents in Canada with most deaths happening in Ontario and Quebec. The Canadian Institute for Health Information reported that Canada had almost double the proportion of COVID-19 deaths within LTC settings than other OECD countries -- 81% of the total as compared to 42%.
Thousands of families and loved ones are devastated with their loss. Others, including residents and staff, are exhausted, distressed and fearful of what is to come on this second wave.
Canadians across the country are yearning for action. We recognize the need and opportunity to turn tragedy into action, to secure a brighter future for our seniors. This is where we can come together and inspire all jurisdictions to build on the federal government’s Speech from the Throne that includes a commitment to work with provinces and territories to establish national standards for LTC and to take additional action to support people stay in their homes longer.
RNAO's voice is 46,000 members strong and thousands have shown their support for reform by signing our action alerts. We must build the momentum to affect change by mobilizing in partnership with other associations, unions, seniors, families and the media to further our voices together and inspire the nation’s political will to do what is right for seniors. Join us on Nov. 9 at a virtual town-hall style meeting focused on ensuring national standards become a reality.
Who is invited? Anyone across Canada who cares about seniors and wants to join forces to inspire our provinces, territories and the federal government to establish national standards for LTC and to take additional action to support people stay in their homes longer.
We call on: Residents, families, nurses, interprofessional colleagues, PSWs, students, concerned Canadians, and other association leaders to come and join in creating a social movement like no one has seen before. Let’s talk action and let’s drive it!
Landscape and Emerging Issues with E- Cigarettes: Webinar Series
This three-part webinar is in partnership with the RNAO, Community Health Nurses’ Initiatives group (CHNIG) and Community Health Nurses of Canada (CHNC).
NPs who are members of RNAO are invited at no cost to our NP Knowledge Exchange Virtual Symposium on Monday, November 23, 9 am to 4 pm.
Explore the theme “Moving from Strength to Greater Strength: NPs in Ontario, Canada, and around the Globe” at our seventh-annual NP Knowledge Exchange Symposium.
We will have a chance to network, collaborate and learn more about the NP Task Force and its compelling history, progress and promise to drive successful health transformation. In addition, we will discuss how the clinical, policy and governance roles of NPs during COVID-19 impacted the system and can be leveraged in the vision for tomorrow.
Speakers include Dr. Barbara Stilwell, executive director of Nursing Now; Helen Angus, Ontario’s deputy ministers of health and many more fantastic speakers. Co-chairs for the day are NPIG Chair Sally Baerg and RNAO CEO Dr. Doris Grinspun.
This event is open at no cost to all NPs in Ontario who are RNAO members.
Register online today to secure your spot.
The next webinar in the series will be on November 26, 6:45-8:15 pm. Details forthcoming. You can register here.
Our monthly webinar series is open to RNs, NPs and RPNs interested in receiving updates on RNAO’s Black Nurses Task Force and to engage in meaningful conversations that are already influencing the work of the Task Force.
The most recent webinar was on Monday, October 26. This webinar dealt with Systemic Racial Discrimination and Micro aggressions in the Workplace: From Recognition to Action. Please RT
The objectives were:
The presentations and details for this and earlier webinars can be found here.
To our members who continue working hard through these most challenging times: We are here for you. We are extending the deadline for registration for the 2020-2021 membership year to Friday, Nov. 6, 2020, without any penalty. This means you have until 11:59 p.m. on Nov. 6 to renew your RNAO membership or to join, without a gap in PLP or LAP between Nov. 1 and Nov. 6, 2020. Don’t wait again till the last day, please!
If you are a nursing student – BScN or bridging program: Join for FREE! For those who are already RNs or NPs: check this out -- there is RNAO fever -- and it is a good fever to have as we have now almost reached 46,000 members! #TogetherWeCanDoIt.
MOH EOC Situational Report
We are posting each day the Daily Situational Reports from Ontario's MOH EOC at RNAO’s website. That way, you can access the Ministry’s guidance at any time.
For a more detailed Ontario epidemiological summary from Public Health Ontario, you can always go here.
Here is a segment from the latest Situation Report #279 for 30 October:
Staying in touch
Please continue to keep in touch and share questions, comments and challenges. Send these to me at email@example.com and copy my executive assistant, Peta-Gay (PG) Batten <firstname.lastname@example.org>. RNAO’s Board of Directors and our entire staff want you to know: WE ARE HERE FOR YOU!
Thank you all for being there for our communities – everywhere and in all roles! Together, in solidarity, we are stronger and more resilient. These will continue to be tough times for a while for everyone and most especially our colleagues working in the front lines here at home and in countries around the world hit hard by evil COVID-19!
As we have said before, the silver lining of COVID-19: Coming together and working as one people – for the good of all!
Doris Grinspun, RN,MSN, PhD, LLD(hon), Dr(hc), FAAN, O.ONT
RECENT BLOG ITEMS:
23 Oct - Responding to the second wave of COVID-19: RNAO continues to speak out – go here
16 Oct - RNAO advocates for national long-term care standards in Canada – go here
16 Oct - Reta’s Story (a contribution of Judy Smith, Reta’s daughter-in-law) – go here
9 Oct - RNAO relieved that Premier Ford engages late, but essential, action – go here
9 Oct - Patient-centred-care – the dream and the reality – go here
2 Oct - RNAO urges stricter measures to combat rapidly rising number of COVID-19 infections – go here
25 Sept - Nurses say throne speech advances A Just Recovery for All – go here
18 Sept - Is Your Hospital Using Blood Wisely? – go here
18 Sept - RNAO calls to Delay Action on CNO Council Decision to Expand RPN Scope – go here
11 Sept - International Overdose Awareness Day: Statement from RNAO – go here
11 Sept - RNAO joins global movement: A Just Recovery for All – go here
28 August - RNAO letter to Prime Minister Justin Trudeau regarding Speech from the Throne – go here
21 August - Black August and an update on RNAO’s Anti-Black Nursing Task Force – go here
21 August - Winter Surge Planning: How one Ontario Health Team is Preparing – go here
14 August - Insights from Cuba: Primary care as the focus of COVID-19 prevention – go here
7 August - School reopening: Ontario government can still do the right thing on class sizes – go here
31 July - Preparing for the second wave of COVID-19: Discussion – go here
31 July - Important announcement regarding the VIANurse program – go here
31 July - Government must immediately mandate hiring to avert second tragedy in LTC – go here
24 July - Preparing for the second wave of COVID-19: What is the plan? – go here
17 July - RNAO launches new social media campaign #Maskathon – go here
17 July - RNAO calls on government to reunite families in LTC homes in Ontario – go here
10 July - Nurses’ mental health, leave of absence and return to work experiences – go here
10 July - RNAO continues to pursue family reunification in LTC – go here
10 July - Support Zimbabwean nurses arrested and fired for protesting deteriorating pay and working conditions during pandemic – go here
3 July - RNAO launches task force to tackle anti-Black racism within the nursing profession – go here
3 July - Rather than praise, let’s protect our nurses – go here
3 July - Nurses celebrated diversity during Pride month – go here
26 June - Nursing Home Basic Care Guarantee – go here
26 June - Masks for all – the policy imperative in Canada – go here
18 June - Annual General Meeting – an exhilarating week! – go here
12 June - Petition on masks for Canada – go here
12 June - LTC: RNAO releases list of 35 reports and recommendations dating back 20 years – go here
6 June - Statement – RNAO stands together with our Black sisters and brothers – go here
3 June - Adapting harm reduction during a pandemic – go here
We have posted earlier ones in my blog here. I invite you to take a look.
Ontario’s public website on the COVID-19 is there to inform the general public – encourage your family and friends to access this public website. The WHO has provided an excellent link for you to share with members of the public here.
Please promote the use of Ontario’s COVID-19 self-assessment tool: It also has a guide where to seek care, if necessary. Its use will provide the province with real-time data on the number and geography of users who are told to seek care, self-isolate or to monitor for symptoms. Data will inform Ontario's ongoing response to keep individuals and families safe.
Health Canada's website provides the best information capturing all of Canada. It contains an outbreak update, Canada's response to the virus, travel advice, symptoms and treatment, and resources for health professionals.
You can find up-to-date global numbers in Coronavirus COVID-19 Global Cases by Johns Hopkins CSSE.
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