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A 10-foot tall rocking chair stops in Plantagenet

Posted: June 15, 2016

(June 15, 2016)

By: Cristina Sanza

PLANTAGENET – A 10-foot tall rocking chair made a pit stop on the front lawn of the Pinecrest Nursing Home on June 13, as part of a tour organized by The Ontario Health Coalition to raise awareness about the lack of long-term care standards in Ontario.


The tour is taking place from June 13 to 21, making stops all across Ontario, including Orleans, New Market and Woodstock. This is the third year the chair has been traveling, with a different circuit each year.


“We try to do areas we haven’t done before, as the goal is to get the message out as far and wide as we can,” said Kim Johnston, the campaign director.


The ultimate goal is to bring attention to the fact that there are no minimum care standards when it comes to long-term care in Ontario, and to improve access to care and reduce wait times.


The Ontario Health Coalition is calling on Ontario’s government to reinstate a care standard, and they are asking for a minimum of four hours of hands-on care, per resident, per day. “In school you’ve got standards around class sizes to make sure kids are getting the best education and that the resources are there,” explained Johnston. “But when it comes to our seniors and those in long-term care, we don’t offer that same benefit, that they are offered a minimal amount of care.”


Standard caretaking practices like bathing, repositioning to prevent bed sores and taking time to feed residents properly are not always done adequately, often to due to lack of enough staff members, Johnston explained. “When you have a care standard, it holds them to account. The resources have to be in place to provide that level of care,” she said.


Johnston said access to care is also a big issue. For the past decade, The Ontario Health Coalition has reported that the wait-list for long-term care has consistently been over 20,000 people. Moreover, from March to May of this year alone, 109,378 individuals in Ontario were on a wait-list for long-term care.


“What we’re seeing is that the availability for long-term care just isn’t there,” said Johnston. “People are left waiting for months, even years to get into a long-term care home.”


She added that this can put a lot of strain on family and the individual, and it often forces people to hire a caretaker privately, which can be very costly.


As part of the rocking chair tour, the Ontario Health Coalition has a postcard campaign, which acts similarly to a petition. The goal is to collect 20,000 signed postcards. On the back of each one there is a note to Premier Kathleen Wynne about implementing care standards. “We collect those as part of the campaign, and once we reach the number, we’ll present them to the legislature,” said Johnston.


The rocking chair was built by a prop-maker and is a symbol of care and comfort. Passer-bys can take photos with it, all while learning about long-term care standards. Johnston said during the visits, often times, people are not aware that there are no standards at all.


“We’re hoping to get the word out about this issue and I think it’s something that people would be really concerned about,” Johnston said.

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