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Giant rocking chair comes to Orléans to highlight long-term care facility issues

Posted: June 16, 2016

(June 16, 2016)

By: Brier Dodge, Orleans News

A giant rocking chair just over three-metres high was set up in front of the Saint-Louis Residence in Orléans on June 14 by a group that says not enough is being done for people living in long-term care homes.

Members of the Ontario Health Coalition are calling on the provincial government to set minimum care standards of four hours of hands on care per day, per resident, and improve access to care and reduce wait times.

“You don’t even want to look at the residents’ faces because you know you don’t have time to stop because you have to keep going and keep going and keep going,” said Joanne Waddell, who works at the Madonna Nursing Home in Orléans. “We need something in the law that says there has to be a minimum and what that minimum is.”

There used to be a law that residents had to have 2.25 hours of care per day per resident, but the law changed in 1997 to remove that requirement. Now, there are no  minimum time of care per day for residents standard.

Long-term care homes, often referred to as nursing homes, provide care for those who are unable to live independently and need 24-hour nursing care available. They generally provide a higher level of personal care than retirement homes.

This is the third year the group has toured the province with the giant rocking chair, which represents caring, to communities to protest the existing long-term care status quo.

Al Dupuis, co-chair of the Ontario Health Coalition, said hospital cuts have affected long-term care negatively as well. He said funding isn’t keeping up with the rate of inflation.

Fewer spots in hospitals for those requiring care mean the wait lists are often lengthy to get into a long-term care home, he said.

“People are waiting way too long on wait lists,” he said. “So we’re wondering why the government thinks its okay to put people in a position where they’re suffering.”

According to the Ontario Health Coalition, there were 8,994 people on a wait list in spring 2016 for long-term care beds in the Champlain region, which includes Ottawa and Orléans.

The group encouraged people ti get behind their cause and write to the premier urging changes to the minimum care standard and  improve access and wait times.

Orléans was the 53rd community that the group has set up in.

Saint-Louis Residence was chosen because the campaign had not yet been to Orléans and there was a grassy area across from the long-term care facility where the rocking chair could easily be set up. The chair was set up across the street from the facility at the intersection of Hiawatha Park Road and Roslyn Ave.

Later in the day, the giant rocking chair moved on to Almonte and Carleton Place.

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