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Giant Rocking Chair Tour stops in Ingersoll

Posted: June 17, 2015

(June 16, 2015)
By John Tapley, Ingersoll Times

The Ontario Health Coalition's Giant Rocking Chair Tour made a stop in downtown Ingersoll on Friday, June 12, to help raise awareness of its campaign for a minimum standard of care to be reinstated for long term care facilities in Ontario and to improve access to long term care. Bryan Smith, chair of the Oxford Coalition for Social Justice, Mayor Ted Comiskey and members of Unifor and the public turned out for presentation in front of the gazebo. The coalition is taking the giant rocking chair to 24 communities across the province.

The Ontario Health Coalition’s Giant Rocking Chair Tour made a stop in downtown Ingersoll on Friday, June 12, to help raise awareness of its campaign for a minimum standard of care to be reinstated for long term care facilities in Ontario and to improve access to long term care. Bryan Smith, chair of the Oxford Coalition for Social Justice, Mayor Ted Comiskey and members of Unifor and the public turned out for presentation in front of the gazebo. The coalition is taking the giant rocking chair to 24 communities across the province.

 

The Ontario Health Coalition brought a giant rocking chair to Ingersoll on Friday to help draw attention to its campaign to have the provincial government reinstate a minimum standard of care in long term care homes.

The coalition is calling for a regulated care standard to ensure that residents of nursing homes get a minimum average of four hours of hands-on nursing care and personal support per day.

Its Giant Rocking Chair Tour is taking the message to 24 communities across Ontario this year.

On Friday, the chair sat in front of the gazebo in downtown Ingersoll where members of the Oxford Coalition for Social Justice, Unifor and members of the public turned out in support of the coalition’s campaign.

“We’ve heard some absolute horror stories,” said Peter Boyle, a volunteer with the Ontario Health Coalition, about experiences that people have shared with the organization related to the long term care system.

One of those stories, he said, came from a staff member at a long term care facility who said they had a total of 15 minutes each morning to get seven residents up, dressed and ready for breakfast.

“People are telling us their parents are being warehoused in long term care homes,” said Boyle.

He pointed out that Ontario used to have a minimum care standard.

“In 1996 Ontario’s Conservative government withdrew a regulation that provided for a minimum care standard and the government also stopped inspecting long term care homes.”

Just as day care centres and some school classes have mandated staff to child/student ratios, the coalition said a minimum care standard would ensure the needs of residents are met.

The coalition said long term care homes are frequently understaffed and residents suffer as a result.

Without adequate staffing, caregivers don’t have enough time to do many things, it said, including get residents up at a reasonable pace, supervise residents with dementia or help residents get to the bathroom on time.

“While care needs of residents have become more and more complex, care levels have remained stagnant, at levels too low to provide basic daily needs that protect residents and staff alike from harm.”

Boyle said personal support workers, nurses, doctors and administrators at long term care facilities are doing everything they can, but only MPPs at Queen’s Park can fix the problem.

“We need to keep their feet to the fire and make them fix this problem,” he said.

Boyle encouraged people to take up the cause for reinstating a minimum care standard by writing letters to the editor, talking with their neighbours and contacting their MPP.

Besides a minimum care standard, the coalition is advocating for improved access to long term care, saying that at any time for over a decade there have been more than 20,000 people on wait lists for long term care beds.

It is also concerned about the number of chronic care hospital beds and psychogeriatric services being eliminated, which it said puts added pressure on long term care facilities.

Boyle said the problems are only going to increase down the road when the bubble created by the baby boom generation begins entering the system.

“We can’t wait for my generation to get into the rocking chair. We’ve got to fix this for the generation before us.”