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Oakville residents take part in provincewide rally for long-term care

Posted: October 5, 2021

(October 4, 2021)

By: Mansoor Tanweer, The Star

Anne Douglas opens the rally with a few remarks at the Oakville Public Library, the starting point of her walk for long-term care.

Some 50 Oakville residents took to the streets to raise awareness about the ongoing long-term-care crisis in the province.

“Our goal is to make the public aware that the situation … it’s still a very important issue and conditions have not improved in long-term care,” said Anne Douglas of the Canadian Federation of University Women. “People go into long-term care with very complex needs. Now they go in older and sicker than what they did maybe 10 or 20 years ago.”

Douglas led the march around downtown Oakville. Participants started at the library on Navy Street, then went to Towne Square and back to the library — doing so twice.

May 2020 report by the Canadian Armed Forces revealed chronic shortcomings in several long-term-care homes. Ants, cockroaches, and skin breakdowns due to soiled residents not getting cared for, were some of a slew of the damning findings of the report.

Douglas and former Oakville MP Bonnie Brown were highly critical of Premier Doug Ford and his government regarding the issue of long-term care.

“The requirement right now for nursing care is one nurse per facility per shift,” Douglas said. “That’s all they’re required to provide for nursing care; that’s not adequate with complex needs.”

“We need higher standards, strict inspections and enforcement of rule-breaking fines issued for those providers who are failing these regulation tests, and licences pulled or suspended until they conform to the rules,” added Brown.

The Oakville Beaver reached out the Ministry of Long-Term Care for comment. None was provided by deadline. While the rally was happening, the Ontario legislature opened for the fall session.

In the throne speech, Lt.- Gov. Elizabeth Dowdeswell announced $2.86 billion for 30,000 long-term-care beds over 10 years. “Long-term care residents are neglected, no more.”

Last Friday, on Oct. 1, the Government of Ontario mandated vaccines for “all in-home staff, support workers, students, and volunteers by Nov. 15, 2021.” The government also allocated $115 million to train up to 8,200 personal support workers last February for jobs in long-term care.

“We’ve heard a lot of promises, but actually nothing has happened to improve the care levels,” said Natalie Mehra of the Ontario Health Coalition, who co-ordinated Monday’s gatherings in support of long-term care across Ontario.

“Three quarters of the people that died in the pandemic just from COVID alone, in the long-term-care homes, were in for-profit homes.”

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