TORONTO, Aug. 12, 2019 /CNW/ - The union that represents the largest number of registered and care staff working in Ontario's long-term care system, CUPE, called today for the Conservative government to immediately lay out its plans to study staffing levels in long-term care.
"Two weeks ago, the report of the Public Inquiry into the Safety and Security of Residents in the Long-Term Care Homes System was released. It called for a study on safe staffing in long-term care to be tabled in the Ontario legislature by July 31, 2020 and yet we have no plan from the provincial government on how this study will be done," said Candace Rennick, Secretary-Treasurer of CUPE Ontario. "Caregivers working in the long-term care system would like to be part of designing that survey, along with representatives of the residents and their families and the study should be carried out by researchers independent of government. This work must start immediately to meet the deadline."
The report of the Public Inquiry into the Safety and Security of Residents in the Long-Term Care Homes System recommended on July 31, 2019 that "The Ministry of Health and Long-Term Care should conduct a study to determine adequate levels of registered staff in long-term care (LTC) homes on each of the day, evening, and night shifts. The Minister of Health and Long-Term Care should table the study in the legislature by July 31, 2020. If the study shows that additional staffing is required for resident safety, LTC homes should receive a higher level of funding overall, with the additional funds to be placed in the nursing and personal care envelope."
"Resident neglect due to understaffing and lack of attention to even the most basic needs are the shameful secrets of Ontario's long-term care system," says Heather Duff, Chairperson of the Healthcare Workers Coordinating Committee of CUPE. "Residents do without regular baths and toileting and miss meals because of understaffing, which is widespread. Most long-term care residents will have their demise hastened by neglect, rather than a deliberately administered insulin dose."
"The Minister responsible for long term care should expand the scope of the study to include non-registered care staff." says Michael Hurley, president of the Ontario Council of Hospital Unions/CUPE. "Shortages of personal support workers are rampant across the long-term care system and these shortages result in resident neglect. Focusing the study on registered staff who are a fraction of total care staff, is a missed opportunity to properly reflect on what would constitute safe staffing levels in long-term care."
CUPE represents approximately 5,000 nurses and 25,000 personal support workers in long-term care in Ontario.
SOURCE Canadian Union of Public Employees (CUPE)
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