Tragically, COVID-19 has wreaked havoc through many of Ontario's 626 long term care (LTC) homes, resulting in an avoidable disproportionate number of deaths due to long-standing shortcomings in the system, including severe understaffing of registered nurse staff to provide the complex and intense care needed. Nurses, PSWs, and the public are saddened and outraged.
Care for older persons in our society can and must be provided in a safe, humane, and client-and-family centred manner. We must take action now to ensure safe staffing in LTC. We urge Minister Fullerton to table her plan in the legislature by the July 31, 2020 deadline. RNAO’s Nursing Home Basic Care Guarantee urges:
No less than four (4) hours of direct nursing and personal care per resident, per day. The formula also calls to ensure the proper skill mix by allocating a minimum of:
Each home should have one nurse practitioner (NP) for every 120 residents and a full time registered nurse specializing in infection prevention and control.
Such an allocation would ensure each resident with safe care and quality of life.
The increase in staffing to meet the guarantee must be accompanied by immediate changes in human resources policies forbidding staff to work in more than one LTC facility; providing wage parity with hospitals; and ensuring that full-time employment with benefits is offered to staff who want full time work to enable: continuity of care for residents, improve staff retention, and remove the need to work in multiple locations.
Premier Ford has vowed to fix the system. Let the Minister of Long-Term Care, Hon. Merrilee Fullerton and Premier Ford know the Nursing Home Basic Care Guarantee is the necessary next step to protect Ontario seniors who call LTC home.
Ontario’s seniors deserve nothing less.
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Registered Nurses’ Association of Ontario (RNAO)