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Empty promises to protect seniors

Posted: March 13, 2021

(March 12, 2021)

By: Ken Brown, Windsor Star

The Ontario government has done nothing but offer empty promises and rhetoric in response to the absolute chaos that is happening in long-term care homes across the province.

A recent story in a major Canadian newspaper indicated some say it’s time to shut down for-profit long term care homes. There are some good arguments to support the notion they should be incorporated into the public system as not-for-profit.

In the story, Dr. Samir Sinha, director or geriatrics at Mount Sinai Hospital in Toronto while talking about thousands of deaths that occurred in long-term care homes related to the pandemic noted many others have been lost due neglect or lack of care.

They may not have died of COVID-19, “but they die because of starvation and dehydration.”

Think about the shame of that and imagine it’s a loved one of your own.

We are well into the second wave of this pandemic and still experiencing poor infection control, delayed response to outbreaks, lack of transparency, worsening staff shortages and the list goes on.

A government-appointed commission to look into the sector took the unusual step of putting out a recommendation before the report was released calling on the government to immediately put into place a minimum care standard of four hours per resident per day.

The government response was to put it in place over a four-year period. Given that the median life expectancy in Ontario’s long-term care sector is 18 months, the four years makes no sense. It is needed now to prevent more unnecessary deaths.

Premier Doug Ford promised to move “heaven and earth” to protect seniors in long term care, but in reality has done the opposite.

His government passed legislation retroactively by raising the threshold for liability in order to protect the long-term care owners. He has delayed the minimum care standard, failed to act on training, done nothing to address poor infection control, delayed response to outbreaks and worsened staff shortages.

The Ontario Health Coalition recently put out a list of Ford government caucus members who received campaign contributions from corporate owners of longterm care homes. Maybe that has clouded their vision.

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