April 26th, 2018

Horwath: Time to care for our parents and grandparents in long-term care homes

Ontario NDP leader Andrea Horwath is pushing the Wynne Liberals to adopt her private member’s bill the Time to Care Act, which is being voted on in the legislature at approximately 4:10 p.m. on Thursday.

The Time to Care Act will begin to undo the years of damage Liberals and Conservatives have done to the province’s long-term care system by requiring a minimum of four hours of nursing and personal support care for every individual in a long-term care home. Today, there are no minimum standards.

“We can ensure that every long-term care resident gets the hands-on attention they need,” said Horwath. “With a guarantee of at least four hours of care every day, our parents and grandparents will live healthier, happier, more dignified lives. Families across the province will feel less stress and worry, knowing that their loved ones are finally receiving the care they deserve and front-line health care workers will have the time they need to provide the quality care they want to deliver to residents .”

Four hours of individual care per day is a highlight of the recently released NDP election platform. Horwath has also committed to building 15,000 new long-term care beds over five years rising to 40,000 over ten years, launching a find-and-fix approach to improving care, and updating the Long-Term Care Residents Bills of rights to enshrine the right of spouses not to be separated against their will.

"Too often, people arrive for a visit with a loved one to find that they haven't been given the help to get out of bed and get dressed. Or, they find unexplained bruises," said Horwath. "Decades of damage by the Conservative and Liberal governments have left front-line staff run off their feet, and left residents without protections for their dignity, health or even their safety. It's time to make some major changes for the better for seniors, and everyone in care."

This bill was previously introduced on behalf of the NDP Health critic France Gélinas. Unfortunately for those people in care, the progress of that bill was halted when Kathleen Wynne prorogued the legislature recently. Horwath has now reintroduced the bill, saying that those in care shouldn't have to wait for the election.