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Rocking chair health campaign rocks into Norwood

Posted: June 21, 2016

(June 21, 2016)

By: Bill Freeman, Trent Hills Independent

Norwood – The provincial government needs to make sure long-term care residents get a minimum of at least four hours of hands-on care a day, says the Ontario Health Coalition (OHC).

The Coalition’s “It’s Time to Care” Rocking Chair campaign stopped in Norwood, July 16 to press its case for minimum standards of care in long-term care homes and to advocate for a patient’s right to access a long-term care in the facility of their choice.

There has been no minimum standard regulations for 20 years, says Peter Boyle a volunteer with the OHC.

Research indicates patients need at least four hours “touch time” a day, he says.

There are 80,000 long-term care patients in Ontario and in the Central East Local Health Integration Network (LHIN) which includes Peterborough City and County there are 21,065 people on wait lists, the largest number in all 14 LHINs.

The wait list to get into a facility near an individual’s home community is just as long, Boyle says.

“[There has] been a chronic historic waiting list,” he said. “The government hasn’t taken this on yet and they need to. That number doesn’t resonate I guess.”

There are “bigger issues looming,” says Boyle, with the baby boomer generation supplanting the war generation population; they will live longer but will have more acute needs.

“People stay in their homes longer. By the time they go to a long-term care home, the acuity of care they need is complex, higher. It’s like an iceberg, you can see the tip of the problem [but] there’s a lot hidden.”

“We desperately need change,” adds Tom Carruthers, chair of the Advisory Committee of Family Councils, a group that represents family councils at long-term care homes.

Lack of “touch time” is the number one issue for members across the province, says Carruthers.

“No provincial government over the last 20 years has taken this issue on,” says Boyle. “We need to get the government’s ear on this.”

Boyle says it’s “appalling and disrespectful” that residents are not provided “the care they deserve. The government should be ashamed.”

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