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Wait times remain long for long-term care in Oakville

Posted: November 8, 2021

(November 7, 2021)

By: Mansoor Tanweer, Oakville Beaver

Joyce Whitelaw’s husband Glen has been in long-term care in Mississauga since February 2019.

He has Alzheimer’s, which has caused many complications for the local couple.

When Glen was hospitalized for a seizure in October 2018, Joyce told hospital staff that “I could not bring him home.”

By the following February, he was enrolled in the behavioural unit of Sheridan Villa’s long-term-care (LTC) program in Mississauga.

Three years before the seizure, Joyce attempted to get her husband admitted to the long-term-care program in Oakville’s Wyndham Manor.

Time dragged on and Glen’s condition worsened.

“He was on the top of the list, or close to it. (LTC workers would say) ‘Oh, he’s number three, always number four,’ all that kind of stuff. And then after two years, I started to get a little more desperate,” recalled Joyce. “He was getting worse and worse. That’s when we were having accidents all over the house and he was going to hurt himself after falling downstairs, stuff like that.”

Wyndham Manor eventually rejected her application due to behavioural issues.

Oakville has some of the longest wait times for long-term care.

For the 2019/2020 fiscal year, the most recent data available, the median wait time for patients to move into long-term care was 202 days for Chartwell Waterford LTC Residence, 199 days for Wyndham Manor, 242 days at Revera Northridge, 171 days for Post Inn Village and 203 days for West Oak Village.

By comparison, Kitchener’s Lanark Heights’ wait times register at 60 days, with 88 days for Chartwell Westmount LTC Residence and 91 days for Revera Forest Heights. The LTC home with the longest wait time in Kitchener appears to be The Village of Winston Park at 159 days.

“Wait times depend on various circumstances and the number of beds,” said Melissa Szilagyi of the Mississauga Halton Local Health Integration Network (LHIN). “These circumstances include: type of unit required (secure, non-secure), type of bed, the number of individuals with a priority category 1 (crisis) designation,” and a host of other considerations.

Julie Mitchell, director of recreation and culture for the Town of Oakville, said that, according to the Mississauga Halton LHIN, the percentage of residents in the areas of Halton and Mississauga, 75 years and older, “will increase by 55 percent from 2015 to 2025.”

Having urged the provincial government to address what he called an “800-bed long-term-care deficit” in his town, Oakville Mayor Rob Burton recently expressed elation over the announcement that 640 new LTC beds would soon be built in two facilities in Oakville.

Executive director of the Ontario Health Coalition Natalie Mehra was deeply critical of the cuts made to long-term care in 2019, and attributed them to wait times in Ontario.

However, she also factored in an aging population, noting “just the sheer numbers of people who are more elderly, and that will just go up.”

“I think we have failed to plan for the aging population horrifically in Ontario, and I think we’re seeing the consequences of that,” Mehra added.

Mehra expressed optimism about the province meeting the needs of the aging population.

However, she warned that it won’t happen “without a very fundamental change in course.”

On Oct. 28, the province announced the Providing More Care, Protecting Seniors, and Building More Beds Act, 2021.

If passed, it would replace the 2007 Long-Term Care Homes Act and allow the minister to decide how many beds are needed in Ontario.

STORY BEHIND THE STORY: With Oakville having some of the longest wait times for long-term-care beds, we wanted to see how that’s affecting local residents and what’s being done to address the issue.

CORRECTION: This story was edited Nov. 8 from a previous version that misstated the number of people in Oakville 75 years and older would increase by 55 per cent from 2015 to 2025. According to information from the Mississauga Halton LHIN, provided by the Town of Oakville’s director of recreation and culture, the increase affects the population in the Halton and Mississauga areas. In addition, this story was updated to attribute a quote to Natalie Mehra. InsideHalton regrets the error.

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