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Long-term care survey results ‘disturbing,’ coalition

Posted: July 24, 2020

(July 23, 2020)

By: Mike Aiken, Kenora Online

Long-term care workers in Ontario are worried about the state of homes and their patients, as they wait for a second wave of COVID-19. Natalie Mehra at the Ontario Health Coalition talks about the results of a recent survey, noting staffing shortages across the province are were than before the pandemic struck.

“Emotional support they described as almost non-existent. They said it was heart-breaking and wrong and unfair. The staff were really emotionally upset about not being able to provide the emotional support, to talk with the residents. They talk about the residents being lonely and depressed,” Mehra said yesterday, saying findings from the survey were disturbing.

The survey was conducted over the week from July 10 to July 17 in every region of Ontario, and it included 150 staff from long-term care homes. The survey found that 95 percent of the staff report that their long-term care homes are short staffed and 53 per cent of those report that they are short shortages every day. Sixty-three per cent of the staff report that staffing levels are worse than before COVID-19 hit and 28 per cent said that staffing levels are the same. It is undisputed that there was a critical shortage already, prior to COVID-19.

“Late or rushed care, they described as happening all the time, and it’s hard to rush residents who have dementia, who may have behavioural issues. Rushing them makes the behaviours worse,” she added.

Kevin Queen at the District of Kenora Homes for the Aged, says students have been able to fill in for staff shortages, but he adds he’s been part of a report that’s due out Friday. It will recommend changes to the long-term care system in the province.

Members of the Ontario Health Coalition include seniors’ groups, patients’ organizations, unions, nurses, health professionals’ organizations, physicians and physician organizations that support the public health system, non-profit community agencies, student groups, ethnic and cultural organizations, residents’ and family councils, retirees, poverty and equality-seeking groups, women’s organizations.

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