More long-term care home troubles should be a wake-up call for government: NDP

With news that three more seniors care homes are no longer allowed to accept new residents because of serious problems in those homes, NDP Home and Long-Term Care critic and London-Fanshawe MPP Teresa Armstrong asked the Wynne Liberals again Wednesday to finally hear the calls from Ontario families, and investigate and fix the systemic problems in seniors care.

“This morning we learned that three long-term care homes in Ontario have been ordered to stop accepting new residents,” said Armstrong. “The conditions in these homes are horrific – complaints range from inappropriate food and severe understaffing, to violence in one home that went unreported to police for days. Seniors in London, Mississauga and Fergus deserve better than this.”

Earlier this week, the Wynne government ordered Tyndall Nursing Home in Mississauga, Earls Court Long-Term Care in London and a Caressant Care home in Fergus, Ontario, to stop accepting new residents because of the substandard care at these homes. Yet, residents there continue to live in these homes. And while serious problems including understaffing in long-term care homes are being revealed all around the province, wait lists are ballooning.

“The wait list for long-term care in Ontario now tops 30,000 people,” said Armstrong. “Yet the premier seems content with the status quo. She seems content to just stop admissions to the worst homes and ignore the fact the wait list is growing and conditions across the province are worsening. We are going in the wrong direction on seniors care in Ontario – instead of improving care and opening new homes to meet the huge demand, we are allowing heartbreaking conditions to become the normal and doing nothing about the wait-list.” 

Pressure is mounting for the Wynne government to accept the NDP call for a two-phase inquiry to find and fix systemic issues in long-term care. The first phase would focus on the murders committed by Elizabeth Wettlaufer, and the second would take a broad look at issues like underfunding, hours of hands-on care for residents including overall staffing levels, enforcement policies, care protocols and the 30,000-person wait-list. 

“We need a find and fix approach to our long-term care system,” said Armstrong.

“Will the premier finally admit that violence, short-staffing and poor care are not just one-time occurrences in these homes and expand the Wettlaufer inquiry to look at all the issues we know are ongoing in almost every long-term care home in Ontario?” asked Armstrong.