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More deaths in for-profit long-term care homes than non-profit and municipally-owned homes: Ontario Health Coalition

Posted: May 8, 2020

(May 7, 2020)

By: Durham Radio News

Deaths rates in for-profit long-term care homes in Ontario are higher and rising faster compared to non-profit and municipally-owned homes.

That’s according to a new analysis from the Ontario Health Coalition.

Rabbi Shalom Schachter, a member of the Ontario Health Coalition, did the research and analysis.

“The data shows that for-profit homes have a much worse record than public and non-profit homes,” said Schachter. “Already even prior to COVID-19 it has been recognized that the current model of delivering long term care has to be overhauled. The pandemic has brought to the forefront the consequences of the current model. The overhaul should respond to the ways that ownership impacts quality and outcomes of care.”

Out of the 93 Ontario homes with outbreaks that the report looked at, there were 1,057 deaths, 700 in for-profit homes, 275 in non-profit homes and 82 in municpal homes.

The Health Coalition reports the rate of death, as measured by the proportion of deaths over the total number of beds in homes with COVID-19 outbreaks resulting in death, is:

  • Nine per cent in for-profit homes
  • 5.25 per cent in non-profit homes, and
  • 3.62 per cent in publicly-owned (municipal) homes.

“We can never forget that these death rates are cold hard numbers but they represent real human beings: mothers, fathers, sisters, brothers. The differences between the death rates in for-profit versus non-profit and public long-term care raises momentous questions about the different practices regarding staffing, working conditions and wages, levels of care, and profit-taking,” said Natalie Mehra, Executive Director of the Ontario Health Coalition. “Clearly the outbreaks are not under control yet, and stronger, faster, more effective measures must be taken to save the lives of the residents living in long-term care.”

The Health Coalition reported the data shows not only that for-profit homes exhibit higher rates of death, but also that rate has increased in the for-profits since April 28 faster than in non-profits. The rate of death per bed has declined in publicly owned (municipal) homes over this period.

The number of homes with outbreaks resulting in death has increased for all types of homes from April 28 to May 5, as has the number of deaths in those homes as follows:

  • The number of municipal homes with outbreaks resulting in death has increased from 8 to 10 in this period.
  • The number of non-profit homes with outbreaks resulting in death has increased from 28 to 33 in this period.
  • The number of for-profit homes with outbreaks resulting in death has increased from 45 to 50 in this period.

“As we go forward, the disproportionate power of the for-profit industry, and of providers in general, over advocates for residents and workers must end,” said Mehra. “The government can and must revoke licenses and appoint interim management to take over the homes in crisis. Ontarians need a concrete commitment from government to stop the for-profit privatization of long-term and chronic care in our province.”

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